• Bill Caine, Contributing Writer

Lady Jackets opened state tourney, 2-1

The start of the KHSAA Fast Pitch Softball state tournament on Thursday, June 8, at Jack C. Fisher Park in Owensboro, did not go as planned. In the opener for the Woodford County High School Lady Jackets, their top pitcher, Bethany Todd, was in the circle, but they lost to Mercy 7-2. With the loss, they fell into the consolation bracket, where they won their next two games on Friday, June 9, 12-2 in a five-inning mercy rule win over Pikeville, and 17-0 in a three-inning, mercy rule win over North Laurel. However, Woodford lost its next game 3-2 to East Carter, to end the season. Here is a recap of Woodford’s first three games in the state tournament. Game 1 Thursday, June 8 WCHS: 2 Mercy: 7 In the opener of the KHSAA state softball tournament, Mercy took control of the game against the Lady Jackets early and never looked back, as Mercy broke out the power bats, and had a few bounces go its way as well, which led to a 7-2 win. “Three balls that hit the chalk in the first inning and a third for them,” said first-year Woodford head coach Les Anderson. “You don’t see that every day, but no excuses; they played a great game and were ready for us.” The lead grew larger by the third inning when Mercy’s Abby Wilder hit a long home run to make the lead 7-0. Freshman Kayleigh Poe and senior Marly Maristany each hit singles to get the Lady Jackets on the board in the fourth inning and Woodford looked to be putting pressure on Mercy for the first time in the game. Seniors Caitlin Karo and Ariel Dailey each had two hits in the game for Woodford. The game progressed into a pitchers’ duel for the last few innings, but Woodford was unable to rally. “It’s always tough to come here and lose the first one” said Anderson. “The girls will get some rest and come ready tomorrow; we’ll be ready.” Game 2 Friday, June 9 WCHS: 12 Pikeville 2 5-inning, mercy rule win Fighting their way out of the loser’s bracket is a tough challenge, but the Lady Jackets came out showing they were ready for the task. After Pikeville jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the third inning, facing elimination, the Lady Jackets furiously rallied for 12 runs in the bottom of the fourth with the team batting around the order. A leadoff double by senior Kyla Simpson started the rally, with doubles from junior Peyton Rose and freshman Abby Moffett. Eleven total hits for the Lady Jackets in the game, including a three-hit effort by senior Ariel Dailey, who continued her hot hitting streak. “Softball is a game momentum.” said Anderson. “We got red hot there and, hopefully, can keep fire into the next game.” Simpson closed out the game in the circle with a scoreless top of the fifth to end the game and give Woodford a 12-2 five-inning, mercy rule win. “We’ve got our work cut out for us,” said Anderson. “If we keep putting the ball in play, we’ll be fine.” Game 3 Friday, June 9 WCHS: 17 North Laurel 0 3-inning, mercy rule win When Karo and freshmen Abby Moffett, Delaney Enlow and Kelsey Coleman arrived at the field for their second game of the day on Friday, you could tell they were confident and felt good about their chances against North Laurel. It showed in the game, as all four players hit home runs for Woodford County, and the rally never slowed down, as the Lady Jackets rolled and kept rolling until the game was called in the third inning via mercy rule, 17-0. The girls were noticeably more relaxed, and it suited them well. The nerves appeared gone, and they looked eager to bat. “When you are facing elimination, you know you just have to play your game,” said Anderson. Woodford had a great crowd at the games on Friday, and the fans were loud and into the game; hanging on every pitch. It was a fantastic atmosphere and a happy one as the Lady Jackets rolled along. “The girls were in a groove and kept on grooving,” said Anderson. “I hope when we come back at 5 p.m. we can stay in that groove.” Unfortunately, that next game was against East Carter, who defeated Woodford 3-2 to end the Lady Jackets’ season.

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