• Rick Capone, Sports Editor

WCHS softball shuts out Western Hills

In another strong performance in the pitching circle, junior Bethany Todd threw a no-hitter to help lead the Woodford County High School softball team to a 2-0 shutout over district rival Western Hills in Frankfort on Thursday, April 14. While the Lady Jackets only put two runs on the score board, all in the second inning, it was all that was needed behind Todd’s pitching on the night. “We just had enough to let Bethany (Todd) ride it out,” said Woodford head coach Sasha Turansky. “I mean her ball was breaking so muchtonight. We were just telling the girls (in the team huddle after the game) and the other coach that, ‘That (was) an SEC pitcher. The way (Todd) pitched tonight is a start against Alabama, Georgia, Tennessee kind of outing. She was lights out. They (Western Hills) weren’t even coming close to touching it. So that was really good to see.” Prior to their game against Western Hills, the Lady Jackets scored another important district win on the road on Wednesday, April 13, as they shut out Franklin County 12-0 in a five-inning, mercy-rule game, while on Tuesday, April 12, they suffered a tough 4-2 road loss to Madison Central. Then, this past weekend, Friday and Saturday, April 15 and 16, the team travelled to North Laurel for the Kentucky Prep 5 Star Classic and won the tournament title. In the tournament, Woodford opened on Friday night with a 15-0 four-inning, mercy rule win over South Laurel. On Saturday they defeated Pulaski County, 3-2, and Madison Southern, 6-3. Then in the championship game, the Lady Jackets scored an 11-1 five-inning, mercy rule win over North Laurel to win the tournament title. “We played well (in the tournament),” said Turansky. “Against Pulaski and Madison Southern we were down and had to come back, which is a good situation for us to be in. We seemed to get better in each game Saturday, which was encouraging to see. “Against North Laurel we absolutely dominated every aspect of the game. Bethany was lights-out with pitching, our defense was fantastic, (Caitlin) Ferguson in particular, and we were hitting the middle of the ball and finding the gaps. It was a really successful weekend for us.” With those games complete, Woodford is now 7-2 overall, 3-2 in region play and 2-0 in district play. In the game against Western Hills, Woodford came to the plate first and was quickly put out by the Lady Wolverines’ pitcher. Todd then returned the favor in the bottom of the first inning, as she struck out the Western Hills batters in order to end the inning. The Woodford bats came alive in the top of the second when eight batters went to the plate leading to two runs. It began with one out when junior Kyla Simpson reached first on a grounder to the pitcher, who dropped the ball and then overthrew first base. Sophomore Paige Hampton then hit a ground-ball single to right field, which advanced Simpson to third. Eighth-grader Kasey Abel then came in as a courtesy runner for Hampton. Then with Ferguson at the plate, a wild pitch scored Simpson for a 1-0 Woodford lead, and advanced Abel to second base. Ferguson then hit a hard ground ball that was hard to field. As a result, the senior ended up safe at first. However, Abel was able to score to make it a 2-0 lead for the Lady Jackets. A few batters later, Woodford had the bases loaded, but Western Hills was able to finally get out of the inning, but were still behind by two runs. That two-run lead held up for the remainder of the game, and while Woodford was able to get runners on base at times, including in the sixth inning when Ferguson reached third, the Lady Jackets were not able to score another run. Meanwhile, Todd continued her strong pitching and held Western Hills in check the rest of the game. In the end, she pitched a complete game with 15 strikeouts, one walk and one hit batter. “It felt really good,” said Todd afterwards about her no-hitter. “I was a little nervous, but I think we did pretty good.” Overall, Turansky was pleased with her team’s win. However, she noted that while pitching and defense are going good, the team needed to work a little more on its hitting. “I think we still have room for improvement at the plate,” said Turansky. “We’re getting in our own heads a little bit, not making the adjustments in game. “(Overall), the pitching is getting better,” she continued. “The defense has gotten so much better since our game the other night (against Madison Central). We’re starting to settle in a little bit. We moved a couple kids around. We’ve just got to make the adjustments at the plate to score more than two runs in a game. Just give us a little bit more breathing room.”

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