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Lady Bears edge Letcher on Senior Night

Honored during Senior Night festivities before Wednesday’s game against Letcher Central, Nikki Creech, Emily Collett and Rhileigh Alred made sure visiting Letcher Central wouldn’t spoil the evening.

The three HCHS seniors combined for five of Harlan County’s nine hits, capped by Creech’s two-run single in the sixth inning to put the Lady Bears ahead to stay on the way to a 6-4 victory.

“Nikki is a good bunter and I thought about going for the squeeze there, but I thought she was due on Senior Night. Sometimes you get a feeling,” Harlan County coach Tim McElyea said. “We moved runners and our bunting game was good tonight. We were pretty solid tonight against a quality club. They could be in the finals of the region over there, so we are fortunate to beat them three times this year.”

Collett and Alred each had two singles and junior third baseman Hannah Johnson added a double and single for three RBI to lead the HCHS offense. Brandy Adams, Nikki Creech and Kerrigan Creech each added one single.

Kerrigan Creech pitched a complete game with three strikeouts and three walks to earn her 13th win.

A potent Letcher (15-14) offense was led by Alyssa Franklin with three singles and Kayte Morgan with two doubles. Abigail McDougal and Abby Meade had two singles each. Tori Holcomb had a double. Makennah Johnson and Madison Mason added one single each.

Harlan County also had perhaps its best game of the season on defense with no errors and several nice plays behind Creech, including an inning-ending double play to help her escape a jam in the first inning.

“Letcher has some pop in its lineup, and Kerrigan struggled a little early, but she got it going later,” McElyea said. “There aren’t a lot of dominant pitchers these days, so softball has become a game of runs and defense. We’ve worked a lot on our defense and it paid off tonight.”

The Lady Bears came back with three runs in the bottom of the first as Creech led off with a walk and Collett singled before both scored on Johnson’s blast into the gap in left for a two-run double. Evans brought in the third run with her fielder’s choice grounder.

Letcher broke through with two runs in the third. Holcomb doubled and scored on Morgan’s sacrifice fly. Johnson added an RBI single, one of five hits in the inning.

The Lady Cougars took the lead in the sixth as McDougal singled with two outs and scored on Morgan’s double. Franklin followed with an RBI single.

Alred opened the decisive bottom of the sixth inning with a leadoff single. Allee Galloway was hit by a pitch, and both moved up on Destiny Clark’s bunt. Creech followed with a two-run single. Collett added a single before Johnson brought in an insurance run with an RBI when she reached base on an error.

Harlan County (16-5) will travel to Knox Central on Friday and Clay County on Saturday to close the regular season.

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Letcher Central 002 002 0 — 4. 11 1

Harlan County 300 003 x — 6. 9. 0

Meade and G. McDougal; K. Creech and Adams. WP — K. Creech (13-5). LP — Meade.