First year head coach Shari Knuckles said the achievement is even more special after the team struggled with injuries during the regular season.
“It feels great,” she said. “We lost three starters from last year and we came in with a lot of young girls playing. Barbourville beat us both times this year, but we played every game with at least three starters hurt.
“It’s just awesome to finally have everybody healthy, gelling together and ready to play.”
Chatman Taylor pitched a four-hitter and allowed just one unearned run to get the victory. She struck out ten and walked one.
Senior catcher Casey Rorick tripled in a run with two outs in the bottom of the first inning, then scored as Blair Combs reached on an error as Pineville quickly went on top 2-0.
“Casey’s a senior and she came through for us today,” Knuckles said. “She’s struggled hitting some this year, but now she’s really starting to see the ball. I think alot of it is because of the weather— we’ve been out a lot and haven’t got to hit a lot and our games have been sporadic. It’s been hard for everyone to get their timing down.”
Taylor made the lead stand up. She pitched around a lead off single by Alexis Brown inthe first. Sydney Black reached on an error and Morgan Sanborn singled down the third base line to start the Lady Tiger second. but Taylor induced a pop-up, shortstop Whitney Partin snagged a liner and Taylor struck out Lori Callebs to end that threat.
The Lady Lions struck again in the top of the third. Victoria Knuckles led off with a single and stole second. She moved to third on Partin’s ground out and Taylor brought her home with a bloop single over second. Courtesy runner Amy Allen advanced on a passed ball and then scored as Rorick reached on an error to give Pineville a 4-0 lead.
Barbourville got on the board in the fourth with the help of two Pineville errors. With one out Black walked and Sanborn’s grounder was fielded by Taylor but her throw to second salied into center field. Black tried to score onthe play, but was thrown out on a relay from Erica Venable to Rorick at home.
Sanborn advanced to second on the play and then scored as Catelen Duerr reached on an error to make it 4-1.
Taylor was in control from there. She got out of the inning with a strikeout and pitched a 1-2-3 fifth. In the sixth she struck out the side around a one-out singled by Ashley Banfield. Taylor ended the game with back-to-back strikeouts after Kayla Lewis singled with one out in the seventh.
“Chatman had her appendix taken out in December so she’s kind of had to struggle back most of this season to get to pitching like she can,” Knuckles said.
Partin had two hits for the Lady Lions, Knuckles and Taylor had a single each and Rorick’s triple accounted for all of Pineville’s hits.
Barbourville ends their seasonwith record of 9-7. Pineville (6-9) will play Knox Central today at 4:30 p.m. in the district championship game at Union College.
Coach Knuckles said her team is focused on making more noise this post-season.
“I was really looking to see how we would do today with everybody back and healthy,” she said. “It’s like I kept telling the girls, it doesn’t matte what happened during the season what matters is district play and region play.”
— — —
Pineville 202 000 0 — 4 5 3
Barbourville 000 100 0 — 1 4 3
Taylor and Rorick; Moran and Duerr. W—Taylor. L—Duerr.