Lady Bears celebrate Senior Night with win over Bell

By John Henson, Managing Editor

Tim McElyea has learned through experience that Senior Night usually means a slow start for his Harlan County Lady Bears.
Down 1-0 early in Monday’s game against visiting Bell County, the Lady Bears eventually found their rhythm on offense on the way to a 7-1 win in a preview of their 52nd District Tournament matchup on Monday at Harlan.
“This is my seventh Senior Night, and I’ve never had one where we played well early. There is some emotion, and I think it takes the girls a few innings. I looked up tonight and we were down 1-0,” McElyea said. “I told our girls that they needed to calm down. We didn’t panic though and started playing better.”
Harlan County senior Kerrigan Creech pitched a five-hitter with 11 strikeouts to earn the win. She gave up only one hit after the third inning.
“Kerrigan had everything working. She pitched well,” McElyea said. “Bell’s pitcher threw better than the first time, and they also played some small ball and gave our defense a workout.”
Mataya Ausmus gave up nine hits for Bell with six strikeouts and three walks.
Brandy Adams continued her torrid senior season with three singles. Brittleigh Estep had a double and single. Creech had two singles. Maddy Blair added a double. Jacey Lewis had a single.
Makenzie Napier led the Lady Cats with two singles. Adriann Strouth contributed a double. Ausmus and Jordan Muncy added one single each.
Holly Gambrel reached on an error in the second inning and gave Bell a brief 1-0 lead when Strouth doubled down the line in left field.
Creech singled in the bottom of the second and courtesy runner Jenna Wilson scored on Blair’s double. Blair scored on an error.
Lewis, Estep and Adams had consecutive hits to start the third inning. Allee Galloway walked to force in a run. Creech singled home two runs and another run scored on Blair’s fielder’s choice grounder for a 6-1 lead.
Estep doubled in the fourth inning and scored the game’s final run on Adams’ hit.
Harlan County (12-8) will travel to Pike Central on Tuesday. Bell County (3-11) plays host to Williamsburg on Tuesday.
Bell County 010 000 0 — 1. 5. 4
Harlan County 024 100 x — 7. 9. 3
Ausmus and Napier; Creech and Adams. WP — Creech (11-7). LP — Ausmus.