The Jenkins Lady Cavaliers traveled to Jeffersontown last week to compete in the All ‘A’ State Fastpitch Softball Tournament. The May 9 event was a double elimination tournament that featured the All ‘A’ champions from each of the 16 regions across the state.
The Lady Cavs opened play with a dramatic come-from-behind extra-inning victory against 10th Region champion Bracken County.
The Lady Cavs took the lead in the bottom of the first inning when leadoff hitter Sarah Belcher opened the with a single and advanced to third on ground outs by Emily Walker and Hillary Brashear. Belcher then scored on a single by second baseman Brooke Webb.
The 1-0 lead stood until the top of the fourth inning when Bracken County batters collected two hits and a sacrifice fly to take a 2-1 lead. The Lady Cavs tied the score at 2- 2 in the bottom of the fourth when pinch runner Ashley Wright scored from third on a Bracken County wild pitch. Wright had entered the game to run for first baseman Whitney Gibson after she had singled. Wright advanced to third on a single by third baseman Kayla Stambaugh and a walk to left fielder Tazia Hall.
Bracken County countered in the top of the fifth inning, scoring four times by taking advantage of four Jenkins errors and knocking three base hits to forge a 6-2 lead. The Lady Cavs rallied for three runs in the bottom of the fifth to cut the margin to 6-5.
Walker and Brashear started the inning with back to back singles. Webb reached on an error, scoring Walker. Webb was forced out at second on Whitney Gibson’s ground ball, and Brashear scored from third on a single by Stambaugh. Centerfielder Ali Goff then struck out, but reached first safely on a passed ball to load the bases. Sierra Kiser’s sacrifice scored Gibson.
Bracken County added a run in the top of the sixth inning on the strength of three base hits to take a 7-5 lead. Brooke Webb relieved Thacker in the top of the seventh inning and retired the side in order to set the stage for the bottom of the inning, which saw the Lady Cavs rally to tie the game 7-7.
Webb led off the inning with a double to deep center field. Mercedes Boggs then entered to pinch run for Webb and advanced to third on a base hit by Gibson, who was thrown out attempting to advance to second. Boggs scored on a base hit by Stambaugh who then stole second. Stambaugh advanced to third on a ground out by Goff and scored the tying run on a base hit by designated hitter Sierra Kiser.
After a scoreless eighth inning, Bracken County collected two base hits to place runners on second and third with two outs in the top of the ninth, but a ground ball to Belcher, who had moved to second base when Webb took the mound, ended the threat.
In the bottom of the ninth, Stambaugh worked a full count base on balls and then advanced to second on a single by Goff. Tazia Hall then stepped to the plate and lined a single to right field, scoring Stambaugh from second with the winning run.
After the extra inning affair with Bracken County, the Lady Cavs advanced to face 5th Region champion Green County. The Lady Cav batters struggled mightily at the plate, placing only one runner on base the entire game. Green County jumped to an early lead, scoring three runs in the top of the first inning thanks to three base hits and two Lady Cav errors that allowed two unearned runs. The Lady Dragons knocked two base hits in the top of the third inning to make the final score 4-0.
The Lady Cavs third and final game of the tournament featured another dramatic finish that was not settled until the final out.
In a game that did not start until after 11 p.m., the Lady Cavs squared off against 8th Region champion Henry County.
After two scoreless innings, Henry County scored first in the top of the third inning on a walk and an extra base hit to take a 1-0 lead. The lead grew to 3-0 in the top of the fourth inning when Henry County scored two unearned runs on two base hits and two Lady Cav errors.
The Lady Cavs countered with two runs in the bottom of the fourth to close to 3-2. Sarah Belcher led off with a single and Emily Walker reached on an error. Belcher and Walker both scored on a solid base hit by Catcher Hillary Brashear. After a fly ball to center field by Brooke Webb for the first out of the inning, Henry County turned a heads up double play to end the Lady Cav rally. First baseman Whitney Gibson grounded out to shortstop and Brashear was doubled up attempting to advance to third on the play.
The Lady Cavs mounted a threat in the bottom of the sixth inning when a walk to Belcher and base hits by Walker and Webb loaded the bases. But a ground ball out ended the inning, leaving three runners on base.
Senior Rachel Thacker pitched well for six innings and was relieved by Webb for the top of the seventh. Webb held Henry County scoreless, setting up another dramatic finish for the Lady Cavs in the bottom of the inning.
Kayla Stambaugh led off with a line drive single to right field. Ali Goff then followed with a bunt single, but Stambaugh was thrown out on the play attempting to advance to third with Goff advancing to second on the throw. Goff then executed a delayed steal to advance to third, placing the tying run on third with only one out. However, back to back strikeouts ended the threat and the tournament for the Lady Cavs.
Despite the tough loss, the Lady Cavs played well in the tournament and represented the 14th Region well.