• Rick Capone, Sports Editor

WCHS softball falls to W. Hills; beats Franklin Co.

In its opening two games of district play at home last week, the Woodford County High School softball team hit a speed bump in its season, losing 2-1 to Western Hills on Wednesday, April 12, then bouncing back and cruising to a 9-1 win over Franklin County on Thursday, April 13. With those games complete, along with 6-2 win over Keystone, Ohio, and a 7-0 win over Mercy, both on Saturday, April 15, at the Male Invitational in Louisville, Woodford is now 16-4 overall, 3-2 in region play and 1-1 in district play. The 2-1 loss to Western Hills was a case of everything seemingly going right for the Lady Wolverines, while a lot went wrong for the Lady Jackets. Offensively, a number of Western Hills’s hits found open spots on the field, while batted balls hit by Woodford went right to the Lady Wolverine fielders for easy outs. One of the bright spots in the game for Woodford was the pitching of senior Caitlin Karo. While Western Hills did score two runs with her in the circle, she still pitched a complete game and had 10 strikeouts. Things began well for the Lady Jackets, as Karo and the team’s defense got the Lady Wolverines out easily in the first inning. Then in the bottom of the first, Woodford got on the scoreboard first. With two outs and senior Ariel Dailey on third and sophomore Leea Cole on second as a pinch runner for Karo, freshman Abby Moffett hit a ball into left field, which scored Dailey to give Woodford a 1-0 lead. That score held until the top of the fourth when Western Hills, with a runner on second, scored on a hit into right field to tie the game 1-1. Then, with runners on first and third, Western Hills put down a nice bunt. Woodford fielded the ball easily, then delayed the throw to hold the runner at third. But, a bad throw to first allowed the runner to score and gave the Lady Wolverines a 2-1 lead. Both teams dug in after that and did not allow any more runs in the game and Western Hills walked off the field with a win. “The game (against Western Hills) is a little hard to explain,” said Woodford head coach Les Anderson. “I think several things contributed to our performance. First, we were still a bit tired from the trip to Alabama and we were not as focused as we could have been. Mentally and physically we were still a bit fatigued. Second, the Western Hills pitcher threw 15 mph slower than what we had seen in several games and we did not adjust well. Third, Western Hills played a great game and were well prepared.” Following that tough loss, Woodford showed its mettle and bounced back on Thursday, April 13, and cruised to a 9-1 win at home over Franklin County. Senior Bethany Todd got the start in the circle and pitched a complete game, and had nine strikeouts, while giving up one run on one hit and two walks. Woodford got things rolling in the second inning when they scored three runs, which began with junior Paige Hampton hitting a solo home run for a 1-0 lead. Then, with two outs, freshmen Delaney Enlow on third and Kasey Abel on second, Dailey hit a line-drive single into center field to score Enlow and Abel for a 3-0 Woodford lead. In the top of the fourth, the Lady Flyers scored their only run of the game, while Woodford responded with three more runs in the bottom of the inning. With no outs and sophomore Lexi Braswell at third as a courtesy runner for Todd, and senior Marly Maristany on second, Dailey stepped up her game again, and hit a line-drive single into left field to score Braswell to make it 4-1. Then with the bases loaded with Maristany at third, junior Peyton Rose at second and Karo at first, Moffett hit a sacrifice fly ball to center field that scored Maristany for a 5-1 lead and advanced Rose to third, while Karo stayed at first. Hampton was the next batter and on an error by the Franklin County catcher, Rose scored to make it a 6-1 ball game. In the bottom of the sixth inning, the Lady Jackets scored their final three runs. It began with Rose on third and Karo at first. At the plate was Hampton who hit a single to center field that scored Rose for the 7-1 lead. Next, with Karo at second and Hampton at first, Cole laid down a nice bunt and made it safely to first, while advancing Karo to third and freshman Kayleigh Poe, who came in as a courtesy runner for Hampton, to second. Then with Abel at the plate, an error by the catcher scored both Karo and Poe to give the Lady Jackets a 9-1 lead. Woodford then got Franklin County out in the seventh to end the game and get the win. In Woodford’s 6-2 win over Keystone, Ohio, on Saturday at Male, Todd pitched five innings and had 11 strikeouts, while giving up two walks. Karo also pitched two innings and had two strikeouts while giving up two runs on three hits. Then in their second game on Saturday, a 7-0 shut out of Mercy, Karo pitched a complete game and had seven strikeouts while giving up three hits in the five inning game. “The girls played very well against a good Franklin County team (on Thursday) and took that momentum into this weekend,” said Les Anderson. “We played two very good teams at the Male High School Invitational. “We beat Keystone High School (Ohio), 6-2. Keystone HS is a top-five program in Ohio and has been in the state championship three of the last four years and they are loaded with talent. It was a great win, highlighted by the pitching performance of Bethany Todd. We raked the ball that game, too, with big games by Dailey, Maristany, Rose, Karo and Hampton. “In game two we beat Mercy Academy, 7-0. Mercy has been ranked in the top 15 in Kentucky for most of the season. Caitlin Karo pitched a two-hit shutout with seven strike outs. Daily, Karo, Enlow, and (Kelsey) Coleman led the offense in the Mercy game.” Next up, Woodford has a busy week, which begins with three district games. They begin with two road games, the first at Western Hills on Thursday, April 20, and the second at Franklin County on Tuesday, April 25. Then on Wednesday, April 26, they play Frankfort at home. All three games start at 5:30 p.m. Following those three games, Woodford plays at Scott County on Thursday, April 27, at 6 p.m., and then on Friday and Saturday, April 28 and 29, the Lady Jackets host their annual Beast of the East tournament. Teams and time are yet to be determined.

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