Powers recorded 12 strikeouts, while allowing only two hits in the complete game win.
“She (Powers) had to adjust. Our catcher is on senior trip so that was a little bit of an adjustment for her. This was the first time she has had somebody other than Kristen (Davis) catching for her all season,” said Middlesboro coach Mary Beth Ledford.
The Lady Dragons put together one of their most inspired performances of the season but were never able to get their bats going.
“I could not be prouder of the way my girls played tonight. They played with more heart and more intensity than I have seen any team in this region play with,” said Harlan coach Cathy Link Thomas. “You never want to lose, but it’s definitely a win in my heart.”
The Lady Jackets struck first with four runs in the fifth inning.
Megan Prater jump-started the offense after she reached base on an error. Kelsie Hensley then doubled to drive in Prater. Powers got on a walk. Erica Johnson doubled to score Hensley and Powers. Kacie Powers followed with a single to drive in Johnson.
“We struggled at the plate,” Ledford said. “We didn’t start hitting the ball until the fourth inning.”
Hensley and Johnson each doubled to lead Middlesboro, while Kacie powers added single for the Lady Jackets.
Harlan responded with one run in the bottom of the inning. Morgan Anderson doubled to right field, then stole second, before scoring on a wild pitch.
“Morgan plays with a whole lot of heart. She is the heart and soul of this team. She is definitely a leader,” Thomas said.
Anderson doubled to lead Harlan at the plate, while Goins added a single.
Anderson suffered the loss on the mound. The junior had one strikeout allowing only three hits in a complete game effort.
Thomas said she was also pleased with the play of freshman catcher Heather Holland.
“She stepped up and made the plays when we really needed them,” she said. “I think this is her first year of catching and she might have had two balls go by her the whole game, and that shows a lot of heart and a lot of determination.”
Thursday’s loss marked the fourth straight for the Lady Dragons, but after a nine-run outburst against Barbourvile and solid performance against the Lady Jackets, Harlan could be turning the corner.
“I think they are proving to themselves that they can play with anybody. To go seven innings with Middlesboro and lose 4-1 is a big statement in itself,” Thomas said.
Harlan (1-7) will return to action on Monday at home against Bell County. Middlesboro (9-8) will play host to Corbin today.
Middlesboro 000 040 0 — 4 3 1
Harlan 000 000 0 — 1 2 6
Randi Jo Powers and Kacie Powers; Anderson and Holland. W—R. Powers. L—Anderson.