Estep leads Lady Bears to district win over Bell


Kim Henson

Brittleigh Estep pitched a complete game as Harlan County defeated visiting Bell County 6-3 on Monday.

By John Henson, Managing Editor

A team dependent on one pitcher for much of the past several seasons, the Harlan County Lady Bears appear to have found a second option in the circle to complement Madison Blair.
Brittleigh Estep won for third time in four games on Monday, shutting out visiting Bell County for the first five innings on the way to a 6-3 district victory. Estep struck out seven and walked seven while giving up six hits. She allowed only one hit through the first five innings as HCHS built 6-0 lead.
“Brittleigh has shown that that she’s capable of stepping up for our team when we want her to. I set a very high expectation for her at the beginning of the season and I believe she’s beginning to see why,” Harlan County coach Shelby Burton said.
Rylie Maggard led the HCHS offense with a triple and single. Halanah Shepherd added a double and single. Blair, Jenna Wilson and Estep had one single each.
Jordan Muncy paced the 5-11 Lady Cats with a double and single. Nadine Johnson, Kamdyn Hoskins, Mataya Ausmus and Kaleigh Taylor added one single each.
Ausmus pitched for Bell, giving up six runs on seven hits with three strikeouts and two walks.
Wilson got the Harlan County offense with a single. Burton followed with an RBI double and Maggard added an RBI triple for a 2-0 lead.
Halle Raleigh walked in the second inning and scored when Blair reached on an error for a 3-0 lead.
Estep singled in the fourth inning and scored on Blair’s two-out hit.
Shepherd walked in the fifth, moved up on Maaggard’s hit and scored on a wild pitch. Maggard came home when Estep was safe on an error.
Hoskins singled for Bell in the sixth inning and scored the Lady Cats’ first run on a wild pitch after Muncy doubled.
Ausmus, Saylor and Johnson had hits for Bell in the seventh inning as the Lady Cats scored twice.
“I knew this wouldn’t be an easy win because Bell has been playing really good,” Burton said. “We came out making clean plays in the field and got our bats going early. I think that was the difference in the game.”
Harlan County (7-16) will play at Barbourville on Friday. Bell County travels to Barbourville on Tuesday.
Bell County 000 001 2 — 3. 6. 4
Harlan County 210 120 x — 6. 7. 1
Ausmus and Napier; Estep and Burton. WP — Estep (3-3). LP — Ausmus.

Madison Blair had an RBI single in Harlan County’s 6-3 win Monday over Bell County. (Kim Henson)