The Middlesboro Lady Jackets took advantage of six Bell County errors, including three in a six-run second inning, as they went on to a 10-0 win over the Lady Cats in six innings on Thursday.
Sophomore Makayla Partin held Bell to just three hits in the shutout while striking out seven and walking one to earn the win.
“She’s throwing it better than probably anybody we’ve got right now. I think this is her fifth game and she’s not lost one yet,” Lady Jacket coach Luster Powers said. “She’s got great control and is just doing an excellent job. I have to give a lot of credit to Laura Durham, she does a fantastic job with this pitching staff. She’s just a freshman but they’re comfortable with her because she caught them all through middle school. She lets them know when they’re not doing something right.”
Durham also led the Lady Jackets with three hits, including a double, and drove in two runs. Megan Prater also doubled to drive in two and scored twice while Tiffany Howerton singled and was hit by a pitch with two RBIs. Partin, Carissa Padgett and Savanna Miracle also had hits for Middlesboro.
“We didn’t hit the ball very well tonight but we did put it in play and capitalizes on their mistakes. That’s what you have to do when you’re not hitting it,” Powers said.
For Bell County senior third baseman Shasta Centers doubled while sophomore Beverly Burkhart singled and reached on an error. Hillary Lowe also had a hit and Alexis Williams walked.
Middlesboro threatened in the bottom of the first when Lauren Spurlock reached on an error and advanced to third on a passed ball, but Lady Cat catcher Jess Sanders was able to throw her out off of third later to end the inning.
Williams walked with two down in the top of the second for Bell’s first base runner, but Partin came back with her fourth strike out of the game to end the inning.
The Lady Jackets took control with a big inning in the bottom of the second. Padgett drew a lead off walk, but was forced out at second on Durham’s grounder. Courtesy runner Amanda Biscardi advanced to second on a wild pitch and Miracle singled to put runners at the corners. Howerton followed with a bunt single as Biscardi scored for a 1-0 lead. Partin helped her own cause with a single to left-center and an error in the outfield allowed another run to score.
Kadi Cordell walked to load the bases and Prater followed with a double to left to bring in Howerton and Partin. A pair of throwing errors on the play allowed Cordell and Prater to also come home as the Middlesboro lead grew to 6-0.
“That second inning was what killed us. I don’t even know what to say, it’s the exact same story every single time,” said Bell coach Angie Hammons. “Our bats weren’t there tonight either. They have been there in all the other games, but they weren’t tonight. Middlesboro’s pitcher did an amazing job and our girls can play with them, they just didn’t.”
Bell County’s best scoring chance came in the third when Burkhart reached on an error and two outs later Center drove one to the fence in the left field for a double. Lady Jacket left fielder Kelsie Hensley got the ball in quickly to hold Burkhart at third and Partin got the final out to keep the Lady Cats off the board.
In the bottom of the fourth, Prater walked with one out and went to third as Hensley reached on a throwing error. Prater scored on a wild pitch, and with two out Padgett walked ahead of Durham’s RBI single to make it 8-0.
The Lady Cats got singles from Burkhart and Lowe in the fifth, but Padgett fielded Centers’ hard grounder to short and made the throw to end the inning.
The Lady Jackets put the game away with two runs in the bottom of the sixth. Hensley walked, Spurlock reached on an error and Padgett reached on an infield single to load the bases. Durham’s infield hit scored Hensley and one out later Howerton was hit by a pitch to force in Spurlock with the final run.
Middlesboro (8-2, 3-0 in district play) is scheduled to host Whitley County today. With rain in the forecast, their next game may be on Tuesday when they host Pineville.
“It would mean a lot to get that number one seed in the district. We’ve still got games to play, but it’s good to get those district wins,” Powers added.
Bell County (2-7, 2-1) is scheduled to visit Rockcastle County this evening for games against South Laurel and the Lady Rockets. The Lady Cats play at Southwestern on Monday.
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Bell County…..000 000 — 0 3 6
Middlesboro…060 202 — 10 8 1
Morgan Garnett and Jess Sanders. Makayla Partin and Laura Durham. W-Partin. L-Garnett.