Lady Jackets hold off HC comeback for district victory


Kim Henson

Harlan County’s Hailey Austin slid into second base with a steal in the fourth inning Wednesday as Middlesboro’s Jamarah Young took the throw.

By John Henson, Managing Editor

Down 9-3 midway through the fifth inning against a Middlesboro team that blew past them 14-4 in last year’s 52nd District finals, the Harlan County Lady Bears showed plenty of fight Wednesday against the visiting Lady Jackets.
Harlan County battled back with three runs in the fifth and two more in the seventh and had the potential winning run at the plate before falling 9-8.
Mackenzie Miller led Middlesboro’s 11-hit attack with two doubles. Kaylee Lawson and Jamarah Young added two singles each. Kailey Owens contributed a double. Kennedy Yoakum, Lindsay Bus and Madison Helton added one single each.
Miller gave up six runs on five hits over five innings, with seven strikeouts and two walks, to earn the win in the circle. Lawson allowed two runs on two hits in two innings, with one strikeout and no walks.
First baseman Halanah Shepherd had a big night for the Lady Bears with a pair of RBI doubles, in addition to several nice plays on defense. Maddy Blair had a triple and single. Jenna Wilson contributed a two-run triple. Brittleigh Estep and Lesleigh Brown each added singles.
Biar gave up nine runs on 10 hits over five innings, with six walks. Estep pitched two hitless innings to close the game.
Keevi Betts’ RBI ground out gave Middlesboro a 1-0 lead after Lawson and Yoakum opened the game with singles.
HCHS answered with two runs in the bottom of the inning as Miller struggled with early control problems, hitting two and throwing three wild pitches.
Helton had a two-run single in the second inning as Middlesboro went up 3-2. Miller added an RBI double in the third inning and another run scored on an error for a 5-2 lead.
Harlan County scored once in the third inning as Austin walked, stole second and came home on a wild pitch.
Lawson’s sacrifice fly extended the Lady Jackets’ lead to 6-3 in the fourth inning. Young had a two-run single to highlight Middlesboro’s three-run fifth inning.
Wilson brought in two runs with a triple in the bottom of the fifth, then scored on Shepherd’s double.
Brown led off the seventh with a single and courtesy runner Lindsey Skidmore scored on an error. Another Shepherd double cut the deficit to one before Lawson retired Jade Burton on a grounder back to the mound to end the game.
Harlan County (6-15 overall, 2-1 district) will travel to Jackson County on Friday. Middlesboro (8-10 overall, 3-0 district) will play host to Cumberland Gap, Tenn., on Thursday.
Middlesboro 122 130 0 — 9. 11 1
Harlan County 201 030 2 — 8. 7. 1
Miller, Lawson (6) and Yoakum; Blair, Estep (6) and Burton. WP — Miller. LP — Blair.