• Rick Capone, Sports Editor

WCHS softball beats Franklin County in rain-delayed game

In the resumption of a game that was stopped due to lightning and rain back in April, the Woodford County softball team shut down Franklin County at home on Monday, May 16, and went on to a 7-1 victory. The win gives the Lady Jackets a perfect 6-0 record in district play this season and locks up the No. 1 seed in the 41st District Tournament, which Woodford will host Tuesday and Wednesday, May 24 and 25. The Lady Jackets will face Frankfort on Tuesday at 5:30 p.m., which will be followed by Franklin County playing Western Hills at 7:30 p.m. The championship game will be on Wednesday at 5:30 p.m. In addition to its win on Monday over Franklin County, Woodford defeated Anderson County at home on Friday, April 13, 13-3, in a five-inning, mercy-rule victory, which was highlighted by a grand slam home run by sophomore Peyton Rose. Prior to that game, the Lady Jackets honored its four seniors – Caitlin Ferguson, Kristen Eads, Lindsay Anderson and Morgan Grose – in a ceremony in front of family, friends and fans. “This group of seniors have been particularly special,” said Turansky. “Linds (Anderson), Bird (Ferguson) and E (Eads) were freshmen when I first got here. They’ve been through it all. The transition to a new coach, the ups and downs every year, and have been really instrumental in is developing into one of the best programs in the state. Morgan joined us a couple years ago and has really provided a triple threat for us at the plate. “To see how far they’ve come in four years is really special. Caitlin and Lindsay had dreams of playing Division 1 college softball – and they’ve reached that dream. Morgan wanted to play college ball and she’s going to do that as well. Kristen is one of the smartest kids I’ve ever been around. She’s going into the honors program at WKU. “To see all four grow into young adults with bright futures ahead of them is one of the most special parts of coaching.” In addition, the team travelled to Ft. Thomas in Northern Kentucky on Saturday, May 14, and scored two wins – one over Ryle 9-3 and the second over Highlands 6-0. With all those games in the books, Woodford is now 23-2 overall, 10-2 in the region and 6-0 in the district. In the game against Franklin County on Monday, play picked up where it left off on Tuesday, April 26, with the score tied 1-1 in the top of the third inning and a Lady Flyers’ runner on first base. Junior Caitlin Karo was in the circle, the runner advanced to second base on a bunt, but then Karo and the Woodford defense shut Franklin County down to end the inning. According to Woodford head coach Sasha Turansky, ending the inning without letting Franklin County score was a key to getting a good start in the resumption of the game. “We knew if we could get that runner out, or not let them score in that first inning, and not give them a chance of hope, that it would be all right,” said Turansky. “So, getting the outs in that inning were really huge. Especially them coming up 2, 3, 4, 5. That was really big for us. And, then us getting a run that first inning gives us a sigh of relief.” That run came in the bottom of the third, which began with junior Arial Dailey hitting a line-drive double all the way to the right-field fence. Two batters later, senior Kyla Simpson hit a single into left field that scored Dailey to give Woodford a 2-1 lead. In the top of the fourth inning, Karo and the defense did their jobs once again and got Franklin County out in order. Woodford then put another run on the board in the bottom of the fourth. It began with Karo hitting a ground ball single into right field. Eighth-grader Kasey Abel then came in as a courtesy runner for Karo. Grose then hit a double into right-center field, which scored Abel and Woodford led, 3-1. In the top of the fifth, Franklin County got a runner on base, but that was all it would get as Woodford got out of the rest of the inning easily. The Lady Jackets added one more run in the bottom of the fifth when, with Ferguson on second base off a line-drive double to left field, Simpson hit a single into center field that scored Ferguson and a 4-1 Woodford lead. Junior Bethany Todd came in to relive Karo in the top of the sixth and, while the Lady Flyers got one runner to get on base, it was all the offense they would get in the inning. Then in the bottom of the sixth inning, Woodford scored three more runs to seal the game. It began with Grose hitting a bunt down the third-base line and then out running the throw to first. Todd then hit a grounder to third and was thrown out at first, but the hit advanced Grose to second base. Rose then hit a great bunt and, like Grose, out ran the throw to first. It also moved Grose to third. Rose then made it to second on a blooper by Dailey. So with runners at second and third and two outs, Anderson blasted a hit to the center field fence for a double, which scored Grose and Rose to make it a 6-1 ball game. Next up was Ferguson, and she hit a single into center field that scored Anderson to give Woodford a 7-1 lead. Todd's pitching then helped Woodford close out the game in the top of the seventh, as three easy Franklin County hits led to three easy defensive plays to give Woodford the 7-1 victory. While the defense was solid all game, it was the Woodford hitting, which hadn't' been too good when the game began in April, that helped the Lady Jackets get the win. "We were a little anxious that first time (when it was rain delayed), hitting weak ground balls off the bat," said Turansky. "So we knew we had to let the ball travel, make sure we're swinging at strikes, and just barrel up and good things would happen. And they did. We really hit some balls hardtonight." In addition to strong defense and good hitting in the game, it was also the pitching of Karo and Todd that ensured the Woodford win. "(Karo) did really well. She battled. That's what CK does. She throws pitches and lets the defense work," said Turansky. "Then bringing Bethany in just kind of wraps it up at the end right there."

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