Lady Jackets pull away for district victory at Harlan


Jon Dickenson

Harlan first baseman Abbi Fields connected on a pitch in Thursday’s district clash against Middlesboro. Fields hit her second home run of the season with a two-run blast in the sixth inning of an 18-8 loss.

By John Henson, Managing Editor


If there was any doubt that this is going to be a wild, unpredictable season of 52nd District softball, Thursday’s Middlesboro-Harlan game drove the point home.
Two days after Harlan knocked off Bell County and Middlesboro fell to Harlan County, the roles were reversed at Harlan as both district records moved to 1-1. The Lady Jackets led all the way in an 18-8 victory that featured 25 hits, 12 errors and five pitching changes on each side.
“We just couldn’t get a timely hit until the 6th inning when we finally showed a little life,” Harlan coach David Overbay said. “Middlesboro got the hits when they needed them. We played from behind the whole game,. We have struggled with that so far this season. We have a good softball team, and when they believe in what we are trying to do good things happen.”
Kenna Lawson had four hits from the nine spot in the order to lead the 5-4 Lady Jackets. Keevi Betts singled three times and drove in three runs from the leadoff spot. Kaylee Lawson had a double and single. Maddilyn Jackson had a two-run double. Madison Bruce singled twice. Kennedy Yoakum singled once.
Ava Nunez led the 1-6 Lady Dragons with a double, two singles and three RBI, along with a run-saving catch in left field. Kendyll Blanton had a double and single. Addi Jackson singled twice. Abbi Fields hit her second homer of the season with a two-run blast in a six-run sixth inning. Ella Lisenbee, Ella Farley, Mallory McNiel and Ally Kirby had one single each.
McNiel started in the circle and was followed by Lisenbee. McNiel returned in the fifth inning and was followed again by Lisenbee, then Amy Roman for the last out.
Kenna Lawson pitched two innings, then Kylee Lawson pitched three. Trinity Partin faced on batter in the sixth inning, then was followed by Kenna Lawson for two outs and Kylee Lawson for the last four outs.
The Lady Dragons have played all season without pitcher Carly Thomas, who suffered a knee injury just before the season began and is out another four to five weeks.
“We have played a tough schedule so far against some good teams, that makes it tough when we have had to juggle our positions so much trying to find the right combinations with Carly being out and being limited by numbers,” Overbay said. “The girls show up and work hard every day. They have scratched and clawed all season and will continue to do so. We are a work in progress, and I know that we will be where we need to be come tournament time. It’s still early in the season, and we had a great win against Bell on Tuesday. That’s what happens when they play a complete game.”
Harlan plays at Cumberland Gap, Tenn., on Friday and travels to Knott Central on Saturday. Middlesboro will play in a tournament at Fort Walton Beach, Fla., next week.
Middlesboro 202 046 4 — 18. 13. 5
Harlan 100 016 0 — 8. 12. 7
Kenna Lawson, Kylee Lawson (2), Partin (6), Kenna Lawson (6), Kylee Lawson (6) and Middleton; McNiel, Lisenbee (4), McNiel (5), Lisenbee (7), Roman (7) and Jackson. WP — Kylee Lawson. LP — McNiel (1-5). HR — Fields (2).

Middlesboro outfielder Keevi Betts had four hits Thursday in the Lady Jackets’ 18-8 win at Harlan. (Jon Dickenson)