The Lady Cats scored four runs in the first inning, but they also had a pair of runners thrown out trying to steal in the frame. Coach J.W. Campbell was not pleased with that aspect of the game.
“We were unfocused. We wasn’t ready to play. You look at the score and you’d think we played a good game, but no we just went through the motions,” Campbell said. “We lost so many runners by not sliding. We’ve got to do the little things right and they know I’m disappointed.”
Senior Rachel Yeary threw her second straight shut-out as she held the Lady Yellow Jackets to just an infield single by Marah Crusenberry. Yeary struck out six over four innings. On Monday Yeary blanked Barbourville in a 12-0 win while scattering five hits, walking one and striking out seven in five innings.
Senior catcher Kristen Slusher led the Lady Cat offense Tuesday with two-run double in the third inning and then a two-run home run to end the game with one out in the bottom of the fourth. The homer came in Slusher’s final at bat at the Bell softball field.
“A lot of times there I would have the batter to take with their pitcher struggling. But Kristen is so capable of hitting that pitch so that’s why I gave her the green light totally,” said Campbell. “She hit where I wanted her to hit it. She’s been great for us this season and hit several of them for us. I’m glad she plays for us and I don’t have to pitch to her.”
The Lady Cats got off to a quick start. Alisha Russell walked and Alex Gambrel was hit by a pitch to start the game. Following a double-steal, Russell scored the first run on a wild pitch. Slusher walked and went on to second on fielder’s indifference and Rebecca Hoskins followed with an RBI grounder and reached on an error. Jess Sanders drove in a run with a base hit and later advanced to second as Hoskins was thrown out trying to steal third. Sanders later scored on a wild pitch to make it 4-0.
Bell put up seven more runs in the third inning. Sanders was hit by a pitch leading off and Haley Goodman then hit a fielder’s choice grounder to second as Sanders was retired. Kendra Taylor walked and Yeary was hit by a pitch to load the bases. Hillary Lowe singled in one run and Russell walked to force in another. Gambrel then ripped a two-run single down the left field line to make it 8-0. Slusher followed with her two-run double and another RBI grounder by Hoskins made it 11-0 after three.
In the fourth inning Yeary walked, Lowe was hit by a pitch and Russell walked to load the bases. Gambrel’s shallow fly ball to left was caught by the Williamsburg shortstop, but Yeary was able to tag up and score on the play. Lowe also came home and Russell advanced to third as the throw bounced into the Bell dugout. Slusher followed with her walk-off homer, a no-doubter to left-center.
Both teams return to action Thursday as Bell County (23-8) wraps up the regular season at Knox Central while Williamsburg (3-21) hosts South Laurel.
Monday the Lady Cats scored six runs each in the first and third innings to beat Barbourville 12-0.
Slusher singled and doubled in that one to drive in three runs and scored twice. Russell had two hits, including a two-run single and scored a run. Yeary and Sanders also had two hits each while Goodman had an RBI double. Taylor and Lauren Spurlock both singled while Gambrel was twice hit by pitches and scored two runs and Lowe was hit by a pitch and walked.
The Lady Cats will open play in the 52nd District Tournament Monday at 5:30 p.m. against Harlan at Harlan County. Middlesboro takes on the host Lady Bears in the night cap.
“If we come out focused, we’ll be fine. But if you’re unfocused for even one inning a good team can still lose,” Campbell said. “We’re a good team, but we’re not good at times. This time of year it gets scary because one bad game is all it takes to send you home.”
— — —
Williamsburg 000 0 — 0 1 2
Bell County 407 4 — 15 7 0
Crusenberry, Boggs (3) and Hinton; Yeary and Slusher. W — Yeary. L — Crusenberry. HR — B:Slusher.
Barbourville 000 00 — 0 5 0
Bell County 606 0x — 12 11 2
Carey and Rose; Yeary and Slusher. W — Yeary. L — Carey.