• Rick Capone, Sports Editor

Lady Jackets fall to No. 3 Scott County in opener

PAIGE HAMPTON hit a home run on this swing to give the Woodford County High School softball team a 4-0 lead over No. 3 Scott County at the start of the second inning in the team’s season opener at home on Tuesday, March 22. However, despite Woodford’s best efforts, the Lady Cardinals came back to win the game 7-6. (Photo by Rick Capone)

On a cool, windy spring night at home in their season opener, the Woodford County High School softball team thought they had No. 3 ranked Scott County right where they wanted them. Behind the strong pitching of junior Bethany Todd and some timely hitting by the Woodford batters, the Lady Jackets took an early 4-0 lead and seemed to have the game under control. However, Scott County once again stymied Woodford’s best efforts, as their pitching got stronger and their bats came alive, while the Lady Jackets began to make little mistakes that cost them dearly. As a result, by the end of the fourth inning the Lady Cardinals tied the game 4-4, and then went on to score a 7-6 victory. Still, Woodford head coach Sasha Turansky was happy with her team’s performance. “You know, for our first game, I thought we played really well,” said Turansky. “They’ve (Scott County) probably got six or seven (actually eight) games under their belt, and this is our first.” Still, she noted there are some things the team needs to improve on. “We have a lot of plays that we have to make,” she said in talking about some mistakes the team made in the game. “A ground ball to second base, a ground ball to third base, a ball in the outfield; those can’t happen. It can’t happen against the number three team in the state, it can’t happen against anybody. So, we’ve got to tighten up on defense a little bit. But we’ll be alright.” Scott County got things started in the first inning, putting two runners on base, but Todd and the Woodford defense buckled down and put an end to the scoring threat to end the inning. In the bottom of the first, Woodford struck for three runs. Things started when senior Caitlin Ferguson got on base on a walk, then stole second with senior Morgan Grose at the plate, who was then walked. That brought junior Ariel Dailey to the plate and she hit the ball to the left-field fence, which scored Ferguson for a 1-0 lead, and advanced Grose to second base. Next up was eighth-grader Abby Moffett, who hit a ground ball-single into center field. The Scott County center fielder dropped the ball, which allowed Grose and Dailey to score and give Woodford a 3-0 lead. Scott County then ended the inning by getting three straight outs. The Lady Cardinals went down quickly in the top of the second, while Woodford was able to put one more run on the board in their half of the inning. That score came from Woodford’s first batter, sophomore catcher Paige Hampton, who hit a home run to give Woodford a 4-0 lead. “This game probably meant a lot to Paige,” said Turansky. “(She) used to play for Scott County, so for her to come out in (her) first at-bat and get a home run off them is good for her.” Following the home run, however, Scott County seemed to settle down and ended Woodford’s inning on three straight outs. Then, in the top of the third, the Lady Cardinals scored their first two runs to make it a 4-2 ball game. Woodford tried to respond, and even got a runner on second when Moffett hit a ball into the outfield, which was dropped. But, once again, Scott County seemed to buckle down and ended the inning. The Lady Cardinals came to the plate in the top of the fourth inning and put two more runs across the plate to tie the game, 4-4, and then followed that up by getting Woodford out in order. Todd’s pitching seemed to get stronger in the top of the fifth inning, and while Scott County got one runner on base, Woodford ended the inning rather easily. Then, in its half of the inning, Woodford got two runners on base, but could not get either across the plate, and at the end of the fifth inning the score remained tied, 4-4. Scott County got its offense going once again in the top of the sixth inning, scoring three runs to take a 7-4 lead. One of the runs scored on a dropped ball by Woodford, and the other two on solid hits with two outs in the inning. The Lady Jackets responded in the bottom of the sixth when lead-off hitter junior Caitlin Karo, who has been injured off and on the last two seasons, blasted a home run over the fence between left and center field to make it 7-5. Woodford then loaded the bases on hits by Todd and Hampton, and a walk by Ferguson, but the Lady Jackets were unable to capitalize on it. In the top of the seventh, Woodford got one runner out trying to steal second, but then overthrew first base on another play to allow a runner on base. Still, the Lady Jackets were able to get out of the inning without letting the Lady Cardinals score. Then, in the bottom of the seventh, Scott County got two quick outs before Karo hit her second home run of the game, this one over the left field fence, to make it a one-run game, 7-6. “She (Karo) hit two home runs in our last scrimmage, too,” said Turansky. “She’s really coming on. And, they’re shots, too. They’re not even close. They’re long, long gone. So, she’s really hitting her stride this year. It’s (also) good to have her healthy.” After Karo’s home run, however, Woodford was unable to get another runner on base and Scott County went home the winner.

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