CORBIN —The Pineville Lady Mountains saw their season come to an end Monday with an 11-1 loss to Knox Central in the first round of the 51st District Tournament at Lynn Camp High School.
The teams sat through one lengthy delay and played through a steady rain for much of the night.
After a few early jitters, the young Lady Lady Lions played even with Knox through the early innings.
The Lady Panthers took advantage of two first inning errors, a walk and a pair of wild pitches to score four unearned runs. But Pineville pitcher Rebecca Lee-Theis settled down to strike out the final three batters of the inning. She finished the game with nine strikeouts against seven walks. Knox scored 11 runs, but most of them were unearned, and had five hits. The Lady Lions committed eight errors in the game.
“She had nine strikeouts and the conditions were tough. It seemed like every time we took the field it would just pour the rain and when they took the field it would lighten up,” said Pineville coach Shari Knuckles. “So the conditions were definitely not in our favor.”
Pineville got one run back in the top of the third as Knox Central’s Allison Swafford also had some control issues on the muddy field. Tanzi Rader drew a lead off walk, then Brooke Sanders and Emily Mullins were hit by pitches to load the bases. With two out, Alexandra Knuckles also worked a walk to force in Rader to cut the lead to 4-1.
In the bottom of the fourth the Lady Panthers rallied with two out. Hannah Campbell had reached on an error with one out and with two down, Elizabeth Barrett walked. Miranda Cornett followed with an RBI double and Kristie Smith reached on an error as two more runs scored to make it 7-1.
“They were in it until the bottom of the fourth,” Knuckles said. “We were right in it.”
One run scored as Swafford reached on an error in the fifth and Cornett added a two-run single to stretch the lead to 10-1. The Lady Panthers brought the 10-run rule into effect with two outs in the sixth. Dee Smith, who had walked with one out, advanced to third on an error and then scored the final run on a passed ball to set the final at 11-1.
The Lady Lions got a base hit from senior third baseman Stephanie Epperson in the first inning and a double by Knuckles leading off the sixth. Pineville loaded the bases in the sixth as Kelsey Goodin and Rader both walked, but they left the bases loaded for the second time in the game.
“We had a hit by Stephanie Epperson and a double by Ali Knuckles. We just couldn’t get our hits to come one right after the other, again that just comes with having young players and them getting used to it,” coach Knuckles said.
Epperson had missed almost the entire season after having surgery on a shoulder she hurt playing basketball.
“Stephanie has gone through shoulder surgery and rehab and has just kept working to get back. She played in two games Friday and then one on Saturday. This was her fourth game back and she’s not even been able to take batting practice,” Knuckles added. “It was great to see her come out and get a solid base hit.”
Pineville ends the season with a record of 5-19. They lose seniors Epperson and Sierra Rutherford but everyone else will be back. Knuckles was a junior this season but the rest of the roster was made up of underclassmen and middle schoolers who received valuable playing time.
“We’re already looking at next year and talking about who’s going to be playing different positions,” Knuckles said. “You can never replace those two seniors, but I feel like we got a lot of experience this season and next year will be a totally different ball game.”
Knox Central (10-9) will play Barbourville (8-14) in the 51st District championship game Tuesday at 6 p.m. Barbourville downed Lynn Camp 13-3 in Monday’s other first round game.
— — —
Pineville……….. 001 000 — 1 2 8
Knox Central…. 400 331 — 11 5 1
RLee-Theis and Mullins; Swafford and Campbell. W — Swafford. L — RLee-Theis.