The Middlesboro Lady Jackets scored four runs over the final three innings to pull out a wild 8-7 win over Harlan on Friday. The Lady Jackets overcame eight errors in the game and and scored the winning run in the bottom of the seventh thanks to some heady base running by Makayla Partin.
Partin led off of the seventh by drawing a walk and was able to steal second without a throw by getting a quick read on a pitch in the dirt. Destiny Ford put down a sacrifice bunt attempt, but the throw to to first hit her in the helmet and skipped into right field as Partin scored without a throw on the play.
“I’ve preached to them and preached to them that smart base running wins ballgames and it showed right there,” Lady Jacket coach Luster Powers said. “(Partin) does a good job on the bases and she did it again there. Destiny also did her job getting a good bunt down.”
Middlesboro jumped on to early as Bailey Hensley reached on a bunt single to lead off the bottom of the first and Laura Durham reached on an infield single. Lauren Spurlock’s fielder’s choice grounder put runners at the corners and Spurlock was able to steal second. Madison Shields followed with a two-run single through he right side.
Harlan took advantage of four Lady Jacket errors in the top of the second inning to score four runs of their own. All the damage came with two outs as Shanae Thomas drew a walk and advanced to second on an illegal pitch. Alyssa Mills then sent a high fly ball to right but Shields lost it in the sun and dropped it as Thomas scored and Mills went all the way to third on the error. Katie King had a single and Madison Noe doubled around three more MHS errors in the inning as the Lady Dragons went up 4-2.
Durham’s two-run single scored Partin and Hensley to tie the game at four in the bottom of the second.
But Harlan scored two more unearned runs off three Middlesboro errors in the third and they led it 6-4.
Kaylee McNeil led off the top of the fifth with a base hit for the Lady Dragons, Thomas reached on an error and Mills singled to push the lead to 7-4
The Lady Jackets rallied. Tiffany Howerton singled to bring in Morgan Thompson in the bottom of the fifth and Howerton scored when Partin reached on an error. The Lady Dragons struggled to get control of the loose ball and Partin broke for home with the tying run, but was thrown out as the score remained 7-6.
“Sometimes I get a little overaggressive with a runner at third base and it almost cost us tonight, but they came through and saved me again,” Powers said.
Middlesboro loaded the bases with no outs in the sixth on a Durham single, a double from Spurlock and a fielder’s choice grounder from Shields. Noe got a pair of strikeouts, but then Durham was able to score the tying run on a passed ball.
Shields relieved Jessica Carter during the fifth inning and shut out Harlan the rest of the way, setting the stage for the dramatic seventh inning.
Middlesboro (7-2 overall, 2-0 in district play) plays at Pineville on Monday and will host Harlan County on Tuesday.
“We hit the ball better tonight that we have the last four or five games and I’m real proud of that. That takes a little tension off of them because they know they can hit it better than they have,” Powers added. “2-0 in the district is big. Hopefully we can battle Harlan County on Tuesday and come out of that one at 3-0.”
— — —
|Madison Noe and Robinson; Jessica Carter, Madison Shields (5) and Laura Durham. W — Shileds. L — Noe.|