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SOFTBALL PREVIEW: 'Win the Region ... go to State'

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By Ron Benningfield

 LaRue’s Lady Hawks softball team finished pre-spring-break play with two wins, improving their early season record to 5-2.

Coach Aaron Howell’s LaRue County squad is experienced with every player among the starters having at least one year of varsity play.

“We have a strong veteran group of players led by my three seniors – Peyton Gardner, Courtney Johnson, and Brigitte Skaggs,” said Howell, a math teacher at the high school. “Leadership is strength.”

The coach predicted his team will sport a strong offense while the defense will have something to prove.

Johnson, LaRue’s third baseman, displayed that offensive power by blasting a homer that scored three runs in the first inning and she brought two more teammates across the plate on a sixth-inning single in the team’s 6-4 victory at Elizabethtown March 27.

A game earlier on March 24, she went three-for-three, blasting a two-run homer and adding a double that careened off the center-field fence, leading LaRue to a 16-1 romp past John Hardin. 

Howell’s prediction of a strong offense proved true as the Lady Hawks had 13 different batters bang at least a single in that contest.

The veteran pitchers also did their part. In their 6-4 win at Elizabethtown March 27, Skaggs pitched 5 1/3 innings to get the win. She fanned seven Lady Panther batters and gave up five hits.

The team’s other mound vet, Emillee Cundiff, notched the win over the Bulldogs, allowing four hits while striking out five and walking only one.

Skaggs and Cundiff cover first base when not on the mound. Sierra Mullins, a junior catcher with three years of experience, completes the pitching battery

At second base is sophomore Delany Eastridge; at shortstop, another sophomore, Trishtian Cruise; Johnson covers third.

Sophomore Jill Hughes plays left field; Gardner is at center, and sophomore Shakeya Washington at right field.

Last season, the 18th District champs advanced to the Fifth Region semi-finals before bowing out to regional tourney winner Central Hardin.

Howell hopes for a rosier end to the season this year.

“Our goal is to win the region and go to state,” he said.