Lady Bears lock up top seed with victory over Bell County

Published 8:08 pm Monday, May 13, 2024

By John Henson

Contributing Sports Writer

Fighting their way back from a brutal 3-13 start this season, the Harlan County Lady Bears ran their district mark to 5-0 and clinched the top seed in the upcoming 52nd District Tournament with a 10-0 five-inning win Tuesday over visiting Bell County.

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“We had a lot of adversity to start the year. Losing Maddy in the circle (due to a hip injury) really hurt us mentally, and we had to adjust to that,” Harlan County coach Shelby Burton said. “They’ve taken it in stride even though it took some time.”

Freshman Alexis Adams has helped ease the transition with Blair to limited to playing shortstop and threw another strong game Tuesday as she pitched a one-hitter with 12 strikeouts and two walks. Jayda Boateng’s single with two outs in the first was the only hit for Bell County.

“She is averaging 10 or 11 strikeouts a game and that speaks volumes for where Lexie will take HC softball,” Burton said.

Junior catcher Jade Burton again led the Harlan County offense with two singles and two RBI. Blair, Halanah Shepherd, Brittleigh Estep, Aviya Halcomb and Lindsey Skidmore added one single each.

Blair singled and Jenna Wilson walked to open the game, then both scored when Estep’s line drive to right was dropped. Courtesy runner Kendall Brock scored the third run of the inning on a wild pitch by Bell’s Adyson Scott.

Shepherd and Burton had back-to-back one-out singles in the third inning and smother scored when Estep was again safe on an error, this time at second base.

Halcomb singled to open the fourth inning, took second on an errant throw and scored on Skidmore’s hit. Burton singled home two runs and Estep singled home one as the Lady Bears scored five times in the inning.

Scott pitched a complete game with five strikeouts and two walks, giving up 10 runs on seven hits.

The 10-17 Lady Bears travel to Leslie County on Thursday. The 10-13 Lady Cats play at Thomas Walker, Va., on Thursday.

Bell County fell 11-10 in eight innings to Knox Central last week.

Camdyn Thomas had three hits and three RBI to lead the Lady Cats. Boateng, Alexus Lawson and Scott added two hits each. Cheyenne Wilder, Addison Maiden, Kenley Foster, Jaelynn Reader and Hannah Fetters had one hit each.

Scott gave up 11 runs (five earned) on on 15 hits with four strikeouts and one walk.