• Rick Capone, Sports Editor

WCHS softball goes 3-1 in Big M tournament

The No. 5 Woodford County High School softball team had a busy weekend at one of the toughest tournaments on their schedule, the Big M Chevrolet Classic in Elizabethtown on Friday and Saturday, March 24 and 25. Taking on some of the top teams in the state, the Lady Jackets finished the tournament with 3-1 record, with their only loss coming to preseason No. 1 ranked Scott County. “We played well,” said Woodford head coach Les Anderson. “Beat three highly ranked teams back-to-back-to-back. Our pitching was solid, defense was good and offense was pretty efficient.” In the tournament, Woodford defeated a number of preseason-ranked teams. They opened their tournament on Friday with a 4-1 win over No. 11 Christian County. Then on Saturday, they defeated No. 25 Assumption, 7-1; and No. 12 Anderson County, before falling to No. 1 Scott County, 7-0. Then on Tuesday, March 29, Woodford hosted No. 4 Male and behind the strong pitching of senior Bethany Todd, some strong, error-free defense, and an eight run first inning to take an early 8-0 lead, the Lady Jackets mercy-ruled Male, 12-0, in five innings. With the win over Male, Woodford is now 8-1 on the season. In the win over Male, Todd pitched all five innings and had 12 strike outs, while giving up only one hit and one walk. Freshman Delaney Enlow hit another home run, her fourth in her last five games. It came in the fourth inning when, with one out and Tatum Wimberly on base, pinch-running for senior Caitlin Karo, she blasted one over the fence for a two-run homer. In the tournament, Woodford opened against Christian County, took an early lead and went on to a 4-1 victory. Starting in the circle was Todd, who pitched seven innings and had 19 strikeouts, while giving up one run, one hit and a home run. The Lady Jackets took an early 1-0 lead in the second inning of the game when junior Paige Hampton hit a home run. Then in the third inning, Enlow made it 2-0 when she blasted a home run. Christian County put one run on the board in the fourth inning to make it 2-1, but Woodford countered with two more runs in the fifth inning to take a 4-1 lead, which is how the game ended. The Lady Jackets next took on No. 25 Assumption in their first game on Saturday and scored a 7-1 win in the game. Karo got the start and pitched six innings and had seven strikeouts, while giving up four hits and one run. Freshman Kelsey Coleman relieved Karo in the seventh inning and had one strikeout in one inning of play. Woodford once again took an early lead, when Enlow hit a home run in the second inning to make it a 1-0 ball game. The Lady Jackets scored the rest of their runs in the fifth inning when Hampton and freshman Abby Moffett both hit two-run home runs, while senior Ariel Dailey had an RBI single and then scored to give Woodford a 7-0 lead. Anderson County managed to score one run in the top of the sixth to make it 6-1, but that’s all they got and the Lady Jackets went on to a 7-1 win. In their second game on Saturday, Woodford scored late in the game to come out on top of No. 12 Anderson County, 6-2. Todd got the start in the game and pitched five innings and had 10 strikeouts, while giving up two runs on four hits and two walks. Karo came in to close out the game and pitched two innings and had five strikeouts. Anderson County took a 2-0 lead in the first inning and held the lead until the top of the sixth when Hampton tied the game, 2-2 with a two-run home run. Then, in the same inning, Enlow hit a three-run home run, while Coleman also hit a solo home run to give Woodford a 6-2 lead. It was Enlow’s third home run in the tournament. Anderson County was unable to score in the seventh inning and the Lady Jackets walked away with the win. In the next game, Woodford faced No. 1 Scott County, and while the Lady Jackets pitched well and hit well, their defensive game was off and the Lady Cardinals took advantage of it and scored a 7-0 win. “Scott County is the defending state champions and No. 1-ranked team in Kentucky for a reason,” said Anderson. “They are very good. We played a little tight early, caught a bad break, and then made a few mistakes that enabled them to pull away. Offensively, we made good contact but they made several really nice defensive plays to prevent us from rallying.” Todd got the start and pitched 3-1/3 innings and struck out three batters, while giving up four hits and four runs. Karo came in to relieve her and pitched 2-2/3 innings and struck out three batters while giving up six hits and three runs. “Hopefully, this team will be forged by fire,” said Anderson. “We have a number of young, very talented players that we are counting on to grow and mature in the game. If these players are patient with themselves and they can raise their level of comfort to that of our upper-class players, we have a chance to be good. “We are playing an incredibly tough schedule, which includes nearly all the best teams in Kentucky. This weekend was our first test and we performed well. … (Next), we head to Alabama to play some of the best teams in the Southeast. “Our team needs to use these experiences to grow, improve, and become the best they can be. Ultimately, all we can ask is that they work hard, prepare well, and give all they have.”

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