Mistakes doom Lady Bears’ upset bid

Published 11:10 pm Monday, May 28, 2018

LONDON — In first-round losses to Clay County and South Laurel the past two years, the Harlan County Lady Bears could connect base-running mistakes in heartbreaking losses to end their seasons.

Bad defense was to blame Monday as six HCHS errors led to eight unearned runs in the first two innings on the way to a 12-1 five-inning loss to North Laurel in the opening round of the 13th Region Tournament at North Laurel High School.

“You can’t give a good team like North that many runs,” Harlan County coach Tim McElyea said. “Some of it was nerves, and I don’t know what to do to fix it. We toughened the schedule up this year to try and prepare them for games like this. We hit the ball pretty hard at times and Des (Jenkins) was putting it where she wanted. We just didn’t make the plays.”

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Destinee Jenkins was on the mound for the Lady Bears’ defensive breakdowns and suffered the loss as she gave up 10 runs (eight unearned) on eight hits with one strikeout and three walks in 2 1/3 innings. Kacie Russell allowed two runs on three hits with one strikeout and two walks in 2 2/3 innings.

Payton Gregory was in control on the mound for North Laurel as she allowed four hits in four shutout innings, with five strikeouts and no walks. Daria Casey pitched the final inning, giving up one run on three hits.

Maddie Dagley led the North offense with a double and two singles. Emily Sizemore had a triple and double. Olivia Miller and Payten Gregory each added a double and single. Gracie Jervis and Rick Collett added singles.

Jenkins had a double and single to lead the Lady Bears. Hannah Johnson contributed two singles. Russell added a single.

Sizemore and Dagley each reached on errors to open the game. Miller singled home a run and another scored when catcher Emily Long tried to throw behind a runner at second base and fired it into center field. The third run came home on an errant throw back to the infield.

Sizemore had an RBI triple and Dagley and Miller added RBI doubles in a five-run second inning that included two more HCHS errors.

Gregory, Sizemore and Dagley had hits in a two-run third inning that included a bases-loaded walk to Jervis.

Collett drove in two runs with a single in the fifth inning to close the North scoring.

The Lady Bears broke through for a run in the fifth inning as Jenkins doubled with one out and Russell and Johnson followed with singles.

Harlan County ended its season at 18-11, winners of three straight 52nd District Tournament titles and seven of 10 since the school opened. The Lady Bears lose six players to graduation, including Jenkins, Russell, Lainey Cox, Regan Caudill, Taylor Johnson and Shawnee Cress.


North Laurel 352 02 — 12 11 1

Harlan County 000 01 — 1 7 6

Gregory, Casey (5) and Marcum; Jenkins, Russell (3) and Long. WP — Gregory. LP — Jenkins (12-11).