A grand slam in the third and another home run in the fifth left Middlesboro stunned as the young team lost to North Laurel 12-1 in five innings. The undefeated 13th Region powerhouse scored nine of their runs in the first three innings.
The Lady Jackets started Taylor Yoakum on the mound in place of ace Madison Shields, who was absent from the game. Yoakum was credited with the loss. Hannah McCullough closed the game for Middlesboro after entering in the third inning.
“I thought she pitched pretty good there in the first couple innings. The third inning, they kind of got to her a little bit,” said Middlesboro coach Luster Powers about Yoakum. “She battled. That’s all I ask a girl to pitch against this first off the bat. North is a heck of a team, and she kept them at bay.
“They scored a couple of runs in the first and then a couple in the second. They turned it loose in the third. She done well. I was proud of her.”
Middlesboro has hit rough stretch in the schedule at this point in the season. The loss to the Lady Jaguars is the sixth consecutive dating back to an 8-3 loss to Clay County on April 11 — including an 8-4 loss to Harlan County on Saturday.
“When you start playing the meat of your schedule, you’re going to suffer losses. I knew we were going to, I just was wondering how we were going to react being as young as we are,” said Powers. “It’s a struggle right now, but we’re learning. That’s the good thing that we’re learning.”
Megan Gent and Aubrey Sowders paced Middlesboro at the plate. Gent went 2-for-3 on the night with a single and a double. Sowders finished the game with two hits and a RBI.
McCullough and Shelby Frazier were the only other Lady Jackets to garner a hit during the game. McCullough went 1-for-3 while Frazier finished 1-for-2.
North Laurel tallied nine hits at the plate. Madison Dagley led the Lady Jaguars with three hits and two runs. Rebecca Riley and Courtney Foley finished 1-for-3 with one home run apiece.
Every Lady Jaguar in the starting line up scored a run with the exception of one batter. Payten Gregory picked up the win for North Laurel on the mound.
The Lady Jags jumped on top early with a 2-0 lead in the first inning. North Laurel started pouring it on in the top of the third scoring seven runs. A two-run RBI triple by Megan Vaughn increased the lead to 4-0. She later scored on a wild pitch to balloon the lead to 5-0.
Foley blasted a grand slam over the fence to widen the North Laurel lead to 9-0.
Middlesboro was able to get on the board in the bottom half of the third. With one out, Yoakum reached first on an error. She reached third on a single by McCullough before scoring on the Sowders’ RBI to cut the lead to 9-1.
The Lady Jags added a run in the fourth before Riley hit a two-run home run to secure the 11-run victory for North Laurel.
Middlesboro (10-6) will travel to Harlan County (6-8) at 6 p.m. on April 25.
North Laurel (11-0) traveled to Corbin (11-1) on Tuesday.
Reach Anthony Cloud at 606-302-9090 or on Twitter @AnthonyCloudMDN