Coming into Thursday evening’s contest with Southwestern, Pulaski County had not tasted the sweet taste of victory since April 1st, when the Lady Maroons downed Wayne County by a score of 10-6.
Heading into the crosstown match-up with the Lady Warriors of Southwestern, the Lady Maroons found themselves in the middle of a 14-game losing streak.
That 14-game losing skid would come to a halt on Thursday night at the War Path, as Brad Gover and the Lady Maroons used a big first inning and a 13-strikeout performance from Krystin Wilson to stun Southwestern by a final tally of 5-2.
Gover, who is in his first season as the head coach of the Lady Maroons, was almost speechless after his club upset one of the top teams in the 12th Region.
“Words cannot express how I feel, and I know they can’t express how the girls feel,” began Gover. “They have worked their butts off and they’ve taken their lumps from when they started.
It’s amazing to see how much they have progressed from the first Sunday we had practice until now – it’s one of the most remarkable things that I’ve ever witnessed ever in my coaching career. It was hard for some of the girls to catch a pop-fly, and now they’re making plays and hitting cut-offs like they’re veterans.”
Pulaski County got out to a quick start in this one, plating a quartet of runs in the opening frame. The Lady Maroons would score four runs on four hits in the top half of the first inning to run out to a 4-0 advantage.
Brianna Smith, who got aboard with one out on a single, tallied the Lady Maroons’ inaugural run of the night after scoring on an overthrow on contact from Haley Baugh. The pair of Eva Gover and Haley Baugh scored on the following at-bat from Taryn Davis, who blasted a double to the center field fence.
After Davis’ two-run double allowed the Lady Maroons to jump out to a 3-0 lead over Southwestern, Samantha Randolph came up with a double of her own. Davis would score on Randolph’s double, giving Pulaski County a four-run lead a half inning into the 12th Region match-up.
Southwestern would respond with a run of their own in the bottom half of the frame, cutting the Lady Maroon lead to three runs at 4-1. Hope Bruner, who led off the frame with a single, would score after Destiny Molden was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded.
The Lady Warriors added another run in the second frame to lessen the Pulaski County lead to a pair of runs at 4-2. After reaching on a walk, Madison Cook tallied a run on an RBI single from Allie Venable.
Pulaski County went ahead 5-2 in the fourth inning after Makayla Montgomery, pinch running for Ashia Conwell, scored on a sacrifice groundout from Wilson.
Wilson and her Pulaski County teammates would hold the Lady Warriors at bay for the rest of the night, as she struck out six batters in the final three innings of action.
The Lady Maroons would hold on to win the contest by a final tally of 5-2, allowing them to bring an end to the month-long drought of being winless. Southwestern would fall to 16-6 on the year with the loss.
Pulaski County had a trio of players record two hits in the contest – Smith, Gover, and Davis. Randolph and Ashia Conwell both chimed in with a hit in the three-run victory over Southwestern.
Wilson, who went the distance for Pulaski County, recorded the victory. The Lady Maroon eighth-grader gave up two runs on six hits and had 13 strikeouts in the outing.
“Tonight, she was one of the best pitchers in the state of Kentucky,” Gover said. “I say that because Southwestern is one heck of a team – they’re a contender for this region. The way she pitched tonight was absolutely amazing.”
Southwestern was led at the dish by Venable, who recorded two hits and an RBI in the contest. Bruner, Emory Wilds, Sydney ‘Dozer’ Fourman, and Shantelle Woodall all had a hit for Southwestern on the evening.
Fourman was saddled with the loss. In seven innings of work, the Southwestern senior five runs on eight hits and five strikeouts.
Wilson kept the Lady Warriors off balance all-game long, which didn’t leave them much to work with at the plate, according to veteran Southwestern head coach Jim Woodall.
“You’ve got to tip your cap to Pulaski County,” told Woodall. “When 13 of your outs are strikeouts in a 21-out game, that only leaves you with eight outs. That doesn’t leave you much to work with. They hit the ball, they made the plays, and they did what they needed to do. I’m not going to make any excuses – we were just beat tonight.”
The Lady Maroons, who moved to 8-18 on the season with the victory, will look to build off of the win and bring some momentum into the final week of the regular season.
“I’m just so proud of all the girls,” told the first-year Lady Maroon coach. “I could sit here all-night long and tell you something about every one of them. It took a play from every single of them tonight, whether it was an at-bat, a bunt, or a rotation.”
Both Southwestern and the Lady Maroons – weather permitting – will continue play this morning in the Alton Blakley Ford Breast Cancer Awareness Showcase at Somerset’s John W. Barnett Field.
Follow Michael Childers on Twitter – @GetChili22
Pulaski Co. 5, Southwestern 2
PC – 4 0 0 1 0 0 0 – 5 8 0
SW – 1 1 0 0 0 0 0 – 2 6 1
2B – Davis (PC); Venable (SW)
RBI – Davis 2, Randolph (PC); Molden, Venable (SW)
Runs scored – Smith, Gover, Baugh, Davis, Montgomery (PC); Bruner, Cook (SW)
Hits – Smith 2, Gover 2, Davis 2, Randolph, Conwell (PC – 8); Venable 2, Bruner, Wilds, Fourman, Woodall (SW – 6)
Errors – PC 0, SW 1
Runners left on base – PC 5, SW 7
WP – Wilson (PC)
LP – Fourman (SW)
Strikeouts – Wilson 13 (PC); Fourman 5 (SW)