• Rick Capone, Sports Editor

WCHS softball rallies to beat Franklin County

It was a close game from the start, as Franklin County took a 3-1 lead in the bottom of the second inning and gave the Woodford County High School softball team all it could handle on beautiful Tuesday night, April 25, in Frankfort. However, Woodford was determined, and in the top of the seventh inning, after tying the game, 3-3, senior Caitlin Karo hit an RBI single to score what would turn out to be the winning run to help the Lady Jackets win a 4-3 district road game against a very tenacious Lady Flyers team. “I’ve got to give Franklin County a lot of credit,” said Woodford head coach Les Anderson. “I thought they played extremely well tonight. Very sound defensively. (They) certainly came out from the first pitch ready to go, and got us back on our heels a little bit. “But, credit to the (Woodford) kids. They kept their cool. They stayed in the game. They fought to the end. And we were fortunate to come out with the win.” Woodford got off to a quick start and scored first in the top of the first inning. With two outs, and junior Peyton Rose on second, senior Caitlin Karo hit a hard ground ball down the third base line for a double, which scored Rose for a 1-0 Woodford lead. Then, with two more runners on base, Franklin County was able to end the inning on two easy ground balls. Karo got the start in the circle for Woodford, but it seemed the Lady Flyers were able to handle her pitches on this night, as they made some solid hits and were able to score to tie the game, 1-1. However, on the same play in which Franklin County scored, The Lady Jackets ended the inning when they caught a runner between second and third for an out to end the inning. In the top of the second, Woodford was able to get a runner on base, but was unable to capitalize it on it. Then, in the bottom of the second, Franklin County got on base once again and, because this was an important district game, Anderson was quick to act and brought in senior Bethany Todd to relieve Karo, who then played first base the rest of the game. Still, the Franklin County bats were on fire on this night and they were able to score two runs in the inning to take a 3-1 lead in the game. Neither team scored in the third and fourth innings, but Woodford did leave three runners on base at the end of its half of the fourth. In the top of the fifth, Woodford got a run across the plate. It happened when, with one out and the bases loaded, freshman Abby Moffett hit a sacrifice fly to left field, which scored senior Ariel Dailey from third to make it a 3-2 ball game. Then, with runners on second and third, senior Kyla Simpson hit a fly ball to left field that looked like it might be a home run, or, at the very least, hit the fence. However, the Flyers’ center fielder made a great play when she caught the ball over her shoulder while running towards the outfield fence to end the inning leaving two Woodford runners stranded on base. Franklin County put a new pitcher into the game in the top of the sixth inning, and the score remained 3-2 until the top of the seventh when the Lady Jackets regained the lead. Things started with one out and Rose at the plate. She had some hitting problems early in the game, but she got back on track and hit a line drive single into right field. With junior Paige Hampton batting and two strikes against her, Rose stole second to get into scoring position. Hampton then hit a ball into centerfield for a double, which scored Rose to tie the game, 3-3. Freshman Kayleigh Poe came in as a courtesy runner for Hampton. So, with Poe on second, Karo came to the plate and hit a hard ground ball up the middle into centerfield, which scored Poe to give Woodford a 4-3 lead. Todd knuckled own in the bottom of the seventh, and while the Lady Flyers did get a runner on second base, they were unable to score and Woodford got the win. “There were three, maybe four at-bats that I wished we could have had back and performed a little better,” said Anderson. “But, other than that, I thought we did a good job. We adjusted to what they were doing, and, bluntly, big players make big plays at the end of the game to help us win. And that’s what happened tonight. “They’d been jamming Peyton (Rose) all night. She was a little frustrated by it, but she made a huge adjustment, got us going with one out, and then experience is the master. Paige (Hampton) is an exceptional hitter, came up behind her, and smoked one. CK, again, an experienced, exceptional player, smoked another one. And, (then) we had an opportunity to close it out.” No question though, Franklin County gave Woodford all it could handle on this night, which is something Anderson acknowledged. “Franklin County came in with a really good plan against us,” said Anderson. “We actually didn’t execute as poorly as it would have seemed. I just thought Franklin County made a lot of plays. I thought their defense played exceptional. They made three or four run-saving plays that really kept them in the game.” Next up, Woodford travels to Georgetown tonight, Thursday, April 27, to play Scott County. Then on Friday and Saturday, April 28 and 29, Woodford hosts the Beast of the East tournament. Teams and times were unavailable at press time. The Lady Jackets then host Frankfort on Tuesday, May 2, which will also be senior night. In addition, Simpson will sign her letter of intent to Pikeville in an on-field signing ceremony.

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