Lady Jackets’ streak ends
Published 9:55 pm Thursday, March 22, 2018
Middlesboro’s near seven-year stranglehold on the 13th Region All A title ended on Thursday when Williamsburg defeated the Lady Jackets. In what was a defensive game, Williamsburg scored on a chip shot down the first-base line to earn the 1-0 victory in eight innings and the 13th Region All A championship.
The loss ends a six-year streak where Middlesboro won the 13th Region All A and advanced to the State All A tournament.
The visiting Jackets’ inability to score runners proved problematic. Middlesboro left 12 runners on base during the game with several being in scoring position.
“In the very first inning, we had bases loaded with one out and couldn’t get anything in. We just couldn’t put hits together,” said Middlesboro coach Petie Gilbert. “We hit the ball good. We just couldn’t put the hits together to score runs.
“Williamsburg has got a good team. The pitcher is pretty good. We just didn’t have the hits to produce runs. We’re going to go back and work. We’re going to get better.”
Putting the bat on the ball was certainly not an issue for Middlesboro. The visiting Lady Jackets tallied eight hits on the night. Jamayha Poe and Brooke Foister paced the team at the plate. Both went 2-for-4 during the game. Four more batters also registered hits for the Lady Jackets.
While Hannah McCullough was credited with the loss inside the circle, she put together a solid performance. She allowed only two hits with 11 strikeouts. Williamsburg’s Kelsey Tye earned the victory.
The host Lady Jackets could never really gain any momentum with most base runners reaching on walks. Tye finished 0-for-3, but her RBI in the eighth ended the game. Caitlyn Prewitt and Megan Harrison garnered the only two hits for Williamsburg.
Middlesboro had their best chances to score in the first, fourth and eighth innings. In the first, the Lady Jackets had the bases loaded with only one out on the board. A strikeout and fly out ended the inning with runners stranded.
Middlesboro found themselves in a similar situation in the fourth. Aubrey Sowders opened the inning with a single and advanced on a bunt. A single from Foister advanced Sowders to third with one out on the board.
Tye struck out the next two batters with runners stranded on second and third to end the inning with the scored still tied 0-0.
The visiting Jackets also ended the fifth and sixth with runners stranded on base.
Things looked promising again for Middlesboro in the eighth. After a fly out opened the inning, Foister hit a single down the left-field line. Tye struck out Shelby Frazier to give Middlesboro two outs.
A fielding error allowed Virginia Marcum to advance to second and Foister to third. An out on a bunt from Macey Mink ended the inning with Middlesboro still unable to cross home plate.
It looked like Middlesboro was going to force a ninth inning after they opened the bottom half of the eighth with two outs. Prewitt hit a double to get on base. The visiting Jackets intentionally walked the next two batters in an attempt to get a force out.
Tye chipped the ball down the first-base line and the Jackets tried to get a force out at home, but Marcum dropped the toss and allowed Prewitt to get the game-winning run.
Middlesboro (2-1) returns to action at 6 p.m. on Monday at Clay County (0-0).
Williamsburg (3-0) will travel to Bell County (2-0) on Monday.
Reach Anthony Cloud at 606-302-9090 or on Twitter @AnthonyCloudMDN