SOFTBALL: Lady Hawks win 16-1

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By Nathaniel Bryan

 Two pitches cost Courtney Johnson two more RBIs Monday afternoon, but the LaRue County senior third baseman was more miffed about her perfect day at the plate coming to a premature end than she was about driving in more runs.

Johnson finished 3-for-3 with a double and a two-run homer as the Lady Hawks beat the homestanding John Hardin Lady Bulldogs in five innings, 16-1.

After leading off the game with a single, senior center fielder Peyton Gardner scored three batters later on a wild pitch – a pitch before Johnson crushed a double off the center-field fence. In the second inning, freshman courtesy runner Kourtnee Davenport scored on a delayed steal – one pitch before Johnson homered to left to push the Lady Hawks’ lead to 8-0.

“Whatever helps the team is what we need to do,” Johnson said. “And say I didn’t hit those. At least my teammates scored without having to wait for me to drive them in.”

Johnson ended her day with a lead-off bunt infield single in the fourth.

“Courtney was a bit sore at me when I pulled her out,” said LaRue County coach Aaron Howell, who also pulled several other starters to give younger players and reserves some early-season at-bats. “So instead she finishes a triple short of the cycle. Sorry.”

The Lady Hawks (4-2), who have won seven of their last eight regular season games against 5th Region foes, didn’t have much to be sorry for.

They played an error-free afternoon in the field, had 13 players record a hit or score a run and almost ended the game in three innings.

“That’s something we’ve been working on,” Johnson said. “Not just at the top of the lineup, but we need to be able to hit throughout.”

LaRue County had at least two hits in every inning and scored multiple runs in every inning but the fifth, when it was trying to play base to base.

Junior pitcher Emillee Cundiff helped herself with an RBI double. Gardner scored twice and junior shortstop Trishtian Cruse doubled, stole three bases and scored twice.

“Overall today we had a great team effort,” Gardner said. “Everyone stepped up and did their part to help us score runs.”

Sophomore right fielder Shakeya Washington was 1-for-2, but it was her work with the glove which was most impressive. In the Lady Bulldogs’ second at-bat, junior catcher Melia Kadetz drilled a ball down the first base line. Washington read the ball and made a full-extension leap to her left to come down with it.

“That was one of the best defensive plays I’ve seen in a long, long time,” Howell said. “After that Emillee settled down and pitched pretty well.”

Cundiff struck out five and walked one. She scattered four hits, giving up a single to eighth-grade pitcher Season Plants in the first, a single by senior center fielder Nawdya Fletcher in the second, a double to junior first baseman Taylor Miller in the fourth and a single by Kadetz in the fifth. 

Season opener

The Lady Hawks won their season opener against Bardstown Bethlehem in a decisive fashion, 9-2, on March 18.

Senior Brigitte Skaggs pitched and hit the homestanding Lady Hawks to a win over their 5th Region rival.

In the circle, Skaggs struck out three and gave up five hits and two unearned runs. At the plate, she went 2-for-3 with a two-run home run in the fourth, a single and three RBIs.

Junior Sierra Mullins had two doubles and an RBI and sophomore Jill Hughes hit a two-run double for the Lady Hawks, who led 5-0 after three and 8-2 after four.

Johnson singled and doubled, while Cundiff had two singles.

Loss to Greenwood

The visiting Lady Hawks jumped out to a 1-0 lead on Gardner’s solo home run in the top of the first, but the defending state champion Lady Gators of Greenwood scored twice in the bottom of the inning and held on for their second straight win. The Lady Hawks fell 5-2.

“It was a good game for us,” said Howell. “We just made some mistakes, but it’s early in the season and we’ll learn from it.”

Sophomores Delany Eastridge and Hughes each singled for the Lady Hawks.

Cundiff allowed eight hits and four earned runs in six innings.

Greenwood ran its winning streak to 46 dating to last season, when it went 44-0.

Meade tournament

The Lady Waves went undefeated to win the Meade County Softball Tournament over the weekend.

Meade County beat Louisville Pleasure Ridge Park and Grayson County in pool play before knocking off Bardstown Bethlehem, 7-5 in the quarterfinals, Grayson County, 7-6 in the semifinals and No. 18 Louisville Holy Cross, 16-6 in the championship.

The Lady Hawks went 2-0 in pool play, but lost to Grayson County, 7-3 in Saturday’s quarterfinals of the single-elimination portion of the tournament.

LaRue County (3-2) beat Bullitt Central, 11-0 and Jeffersontown, 4-3 in pool play Friday.

Trailing 3-1, Grayson County scored six runs in the bottom of the sixth to rally past the Lady Hawks.

Mullins had two singles and two RBIs, while Gardner added two singles and a run.

Brigitte Skaggs allowed seven hits, four walks and three earned runs in 5 2/3 innings. 

Gardner singled, doubled, drove in four runs and scored once and Cundiff tripled and drove in three runs to lead the Lady Hawks past Bullitt Central.

Cundiff gave up three hits and four walks in five innings. She struck out two.

Cruise was a home run shy of the cycle as LaRue County held off Jeffersontown. Washington went 2-for-4 with an RBI, while Gardner had two singles, an RBI and a run.

Skaggs struck out three and gave up five hits, three unearned runs and one walk.