HARLAN — A one-run loss 10 days ago at Middlesboro was perhaps the toughest in a five-game skid that the Harlan Lady Dragons ended on Thursday with a win over Letcher Central.
Harlan avenged that loss Monday at home, edging the visiting Lady Jackets 2-1 in a game that featured timely hitting and a strong pitching performance by junior Madison Noe.
“We needed this because the girls were getting their heads down a little bit,” Harlan coach Scott Lewis said. “This is a confidence builder. I’m proud of them. We needed to prove we could fight through a close game and win it. We had been on the losing end of a couple of close ones.”
Noe tossed a two-hitter with six strikeouts and two walks to even her record at 4-4.
“Madison continues to get better,” Lewis said. “She is very competitive.”
“We just didn’t hit it tonight. She kept us off balance,” Middlesboro coach Luster Powers said. “Maddie is a good pitcher, and she’s smart. She saw where our weaknesses were, and that’s where she put it.”
The Lady Dragons scored their only two runs in their first at bat as Anna Karst and Kaylee McNiel opened the inning with singles and came home on Alyssa Mills’ clutch two-out hit over second base.
“Alyssa is really coming on in her senior year,” Lewis said. “She has hit better and played better overall with defense and everything.”
Katie King had the only other hit for Harlan with a single in the fifth inning.
Middlesboro scored a run in the fifth inning as Makayla Partin singled and scored on a single by Laura Durham, the only two hits on the night for the Lady Jackets. Middlesboro got a runner to second base in the seventh inning, but Noe worked out of the jam with a pop up to Karst at first base.
The loss was the second straight for Middlesboro in district competition. The Lady Jackets fell 5-0 at home on Friday against Harlan County.
“This is a big loss. We got to Harlan County tomorrow, so we have to get our heads on straight and get ready to play. It doesn’t seem like we were ready to play today,” Powers said.
Harlan (4-7 overall, 2-2 district) travels to Bell County on Tuesday. Middlesboro (10-4 overall, 2-2 district) will play at Harlan County tonight.
Partin and Durham; Noe and Jenkins. W — Noe. L — Partin.