Middlesboro tops Bell, 5-1, on Senior Day

One day after falling to the Whitley County Lady Colonels, the Middlesboro Lady Jackets defeated in-county rival Bell County 5-1 on Senior Night in their final district game of the season on Wednesday.

“It took us a long time to get going in this game,” said Middlesboro coach Petie Gilbert “But we got the win, and we will take it. There are a few things that we really need to improve on as quickly as possible. We ain’t got much time to work with, so we need to get this fixed up quick.”

“I thought we played much more aggressive tonight,” said Bell County coach Alex Barnett. “I think this game was a good opportunity for our girls to see the potential they have. Middlesboro is a good team, and they hung right in there with them through the whole game.

“I think it was a huge confidence booster for our team. The last time we played, we got run-ruled. I think we may have had two hits for the whole game. This one was much better. We had a few good hits. Although they weren’t consecutive a lot of the time, we still kept our heads in the game throughout the whole thing. I’m proud of the way we played tonight.”

Both defenses started off strong during the game. The Lady Jackets retired Kayleigh Saylor and Reagan Robbins on strikeouts and Amber Lawson on a fly-out to left field to quickly retire the Lady Cat offense.

The Lady Cats responded in kind by retiring three straight Lady Jackets. Jamarah Young flew-out to the pitcher, Virginia Marcum flew-out to the catcher and Aubrey Sowders flew out to third base. Both defenses held the other team scoreless through the first four innings.

It wasn’t until the bottom of the fifth inning that the Lady Jackets drove in the first run. After a double from Marcum, Sowders connected on an RBI double to give the Middlesboro a 1-0 lead. McCullough added another run in the inning as she drove in Sowders on an RBI single, extending the lead to 2-0.

The Lady Cats worked their way onto the scoreboard in the top of the sixth inning. Robbins connected on a double, leaving a runner in scoring position for Bell County. Lawson then connected on an RBI double, bringing the score to 2-1 in favor of the Lady Jackets.

The bottom of the sixth would prove to be the deciding inning of the game as the Lady Jackets added three runs.

Marcum drove in Kailey Owens for an RBI single, extending the Middlesboro lead to 3-1. Sowders added two more runs to help separate the Lady Jackets, taking a 5-1 lead into the seventh inning.

With one last chance to take a lead, Bell County was unable to add any additional runs to the scoreboard and inevitably fell to Middlesboro by four runs.

With the victory, the Lady Jackets improved to 13-16 on the season. Middlesboro was slated to play the Corbin Lady Redhounds on Thursday night at home in their final regular-season game of the year.

With the loss, the Lady Cats fell to 9-10 on the season. Bell County is slated to play the Williamsburg Lady Yellow Jackets on Friday for their Senior Night at 6 p.m.