The Middlesboro Lady Jackets are the 13th Region All “A” softball champions for the seventh time in the ten-year history of the tournament.
Middlesboro continued their strong play coming off their Spring Break trip to South Carolina on Wednesday as they rolled to a 14-0 win at Jackson County in the championship game. The Lady Jackets advance to the All “A” State Tournament, which begins with pool play on April 27 at Jack Fisher Park in Owensboro.
Sophomore pitcher Jessica Carter struck out ten without walking a batter in a six-inning one-hitter, senior first baseman Savanna Miracle drove in three of the Lady Jackets’ first five runs with a pair of singles, and senior center fielder Megan Prater capped the scoring with an inside the park grand slam.
Lauren Spurlock had three hits in the game, scored two runs and drove in one; Carissa Padgett singled, doubled and walked twice as she scored two runs and drove in two; Kelsie Hensley had two hits and scored two runs while Carter and Tiffany Howerton also had hits in the game.
Middlesboro jumped on top quickly with three runs in the top of the first inning. Hensley reached on a bunt single with one out and advanced to second on an error. Spurlock followed with a base hit and stole second as Hensley scored on an error. Padgett followed with an RBI double into the left-centerfield gap. With two out, Miracle singled home Padgett for a 3-0 lead.
The Lady Jackets added to that lead in the third as Spurlock singled and Padgett walked. One out later, after a passed ball moved both runners into scoring position, Miracle lined a two-run single to right. Miracle was thrown out trying to stretch the hit into a double, but both runs scored to make it 5-0.
In the fourth, Prater walked with one out and Hensley again reached on a bunt single. Spurlock and Padgett delivered RBI singles to extend the Middlesboro lead to 7-0.
In the fifth, Howerton singled and Makayla Partin reached on an error. After a passed ball moved the runners up, Carter came through with an RBI single. One out later, Hensley hit a fly ball to center that was deep enough to bring Partin home and it was 9-0.
The Lady Jackets put the game away with five runs in the top of the fifth. Padgett opened the inning with a walk and Laura Durham reached on a fielder’s choice as Padgett was forced out at second. Miracle walked and Howerton was hit by a pitch to load the bases and Partin reached on an error as one run scored. With two outs and the bases still full, Prater smacked her in-park homer deep to right field and 14-0 proved to be the final score.
Jackson County didn’t get their hit until Samantha Strong doubled with two out in the bottom of the sixth. Carter got Kayla McQueen to hit a comebacker for the final out of the game. The only other Lady General to reach base was Michaella Westerfield, who reached on an error in the third.
Both teams return to action today with Middlesboro (6-1) at Harlan while Jackson County (3-3) plays Rowan County in a tournament at Corbin.
The Lady Jackets will begin pool play at the State All “A” against 15th Region champ Magoffin County (10-0) on April 27 at 10:30 a.m. Also in Pool D will be the Region 10 champ (Lexington Christian, Frankfort, Model or Berea) and the Region 11 champ (likely Nicholas County). The top two teams from each pool move on to a single-elimination tournament with the quarterfinals starting at 8:30 a.m. on April 28.
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Middlesboro…302 225 — 14 12 1
Jackson Co…..000 000 — 01 6
Carter and Durham; Nicholson, Bingham (5) and Strong. W-Carter. L-Nicholson. HR-M:Prater.