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SOFTBALL: Lady Hawks demolish John Hardin

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By Nathaniel Bryan

LaRue County senior pitcher Emillee Cundiff had a lot in common with the John Hardin Lady Bulldogs on Monday. Most notably, they both had trouble getting on base.

Fortunately for Cundiff, her Lady Hawks teammates had no such issues.

Junior second baseman Delany Eastridge was a home run short of the cycle and was 1-of-3 LaRue County players with at least three RBIs as the Lady Hawks pounded out 14 hits in a 12-0 rout of the host Lady Bulldogs in five innings.

Cundiff was 0-for-3 with three strikeouts. She picked a painful way to reach base for the only time, getting hit by a pitch. She more than made up for her offensive woes inside the circle with a complete-game one-hit shutout.

Cundiff admitted her pitching is ahead of her offense at this point of the young season.

“Yeah, it is,” said Cundiff, the Lady Hawks’ No. 5 hitter. “I have to work on my hitting a lot.”

Cundiff struck out 12 batters. The Lady Bulldogs put just four balls into play, with two foul flyouts to freshman first baseman Presley Brown, a groundout to Eastridge and a single by freshman center fielder Hayley Mouser to LaRue County junior center fielder Shakeya Washington, who had to make a pair of diving catches in the teams’ meeting in Radcliff last season.

“I got kind of bored because our pitcher was pitching really good today,” said Washington, who reached base all three plate appearances and scored twice.

Cundiff was working with a new catcher, sophomore Brittany Blair, as senior Sierra Mullins had appendix surgery Saturday. The duo worked well in their short time together as Cundiff didn’t walk a batter, rarely worked deep into a count and didn’t have a wild pitch. Blair didn’t allow a passed ball.

“She did awesome I think. She did really good for her first time in a varsity game behind the plate,” Cundiff said. “It’s a whole different experience from JV.”

Offense for LaRue County (3-2) was certainly a whole different experience from John Hardin (2-2), which was coming off a 12-8 win Saturday against Thomas Nelson.

“We just weren’t seeing the ball today. It was like we just lost focus,” said John Hardin coach Deron Bell. “We came out with a different mindset than we did Saturday. On Saturday, we came out aggressive and jumped on the first pitch. Today we didn’t. We sat back on got ourselves in a hole.”

LaRue County notched all the offense it needed in the top of the first as Brown led off with a bloop single and took second on a wild pitch to Eastridge, who later walked. Ball four was another wild pitch and Brown motored to third. Eastridge then took second on indifference to junior designated player Jill Hughes, who drove both Brown and Eastridge in with a single. Hughes took second and third on a wild pitch and a passed ball and scored on a sacrifice fly by senior shortstop Trishtian Cruse.

Brown was 3-for-4 with an RBI, one stolen base and three runs. Eastridge was 3-for-3 with four runs and three RBIs, while Hughes was 3-for-4 with a double, two runs and four RBIs.

“We’re hitting it really well and we’ve been working on hitting in practice a lot,” said Eastridge, 1-of-5 Lady Hawks with multiple hits. “Live pitching and hitting has really benefited us.”

Cruse was 2-for-3 with an RBI and a run, sophomore right fielder Kaitlyn Warnshuis was 2-for-4 with three RBIs and a stolen base and Washington doubled and stole a base.

LaRue County was coming off a 12-1 loss Saturday to Louisville Eastern in the Lady Hawks’ final pool game in the TSOA Tournament at Meade-Olin Park. Had LaRue County won, it would have advanced to the single-elimination tournament.

“We had some girls, I don’t know if they ate something bad or what, but we had a rough outing. So they wanted to come out here tonight and show what they could do,” said LaRue County coach Rocky Cundiff. “We still didn’t hit the ball as well as we wanted to. ... We had a lot of dinks and we didn’t get to play a whole lot of defense, but she was sharp. I’ll give her that. We’ve kind of opened her up this year. We’re letting her throw other pitches beside just the fastball and it’s making a big difference.”

LARUE COUNTY 12, JOHN HARDIN 0

R H E

LaRue County 330 24 12 14 0

John Hardin 000 00 0 1 2

Emillee Cundiff and Brittany Blair. Ally Furnish and Melia Kadetz. WP: Cundiff. LP: Funish (2-1). 2B: Shakeya Washington (LC), Delany Eastridge (LC), Jill Hughes (LC). 3B: Eastridge (LC).

UP NEXT: LaRue County plays at Louisville Atherton at 6 p.m. today. John Hardin hosts Fort Knox at 6 p.m. today.

Nathaniel Bryan can be reached at 270-505-1758 or nbryan@thenewsenterprise.com.