BY MATTHEW SPARKS
FOR THE DAILY INDEPENDENT
FLATWOODS It’s not often that a harmless bloop single would garner such an outburst of dugout applause.
Any time you reach base facing Montana Fouts, an ovation might be called for.
East Jessamine’s lone single fell into short right field in the fifth inning, denying Fouts another perfect game. The junior was on the mark the rest of the way, striking out 17 in a 7-0 victory in the Tri-State Softball Showcase at the Russell Softball Complex on Saturday afternoon.
East Carter coach Derek Calhoun offered praise to his pitcher after the game. He saved some of that admiration for freshman catcher Bailey Ratcliff. Calhoun said he was impressed with her performance in her first time behind the plate.
“She did an excellent job,” Calhoun said of Fouts. “She was around the plate all evening. They were behind on the pitch. I’m going to give credit to my catcher, Bailey Ratcliff. She is now our fifth catcher. We have been a little depleted there. We have a couple of girls banged up.”
The Lady Raiders connected on 11 hits. Taylor Jackson started the first inning with a double and later scored on a groundout. Gracie Robinson added a two-run single later in the frame to stake East Carter to a 3-0 lead.
Robinson was shifted down the lineup and she delivered with a 2-for-3 effort and drove in three runs.
“It was nothing against Gracie,” Calhoun said. “We figured she might get a confidence boost. … It’s great for her. We need her presence at the top of the lineup. She is a great bunter to move people over.”
Robinson tallied an RBI double and Graycee Castle hit a run-scoring single in the third inning. Caitlin Tabor had two extra-base hits and scored three times for East Carter (14-2).
Calhoun said he loves coming to the showcase because it is great preparation for bigger games ahead.
“It’s about getting yourself ready for the postseason,” Calhoun said. “We faced three really good ball teams. That is the one thing we take from it.
It is a learning experience. We see stuff that we still have to work on. Luckily, we still have a month to do that.”
E.JESSAMINE000 000 0 — 0 1 1 E.CARTER 312 010 x— 711 0
Kay. Terral and Lane; Fouts and Ratcliff. W— Fouts. L—Kay. Terral. 2B—Jackson (EC), C. Tabor
(EC), Robinson (EC).
East Jessamine 13 Russell 9
It was a different story for East Jessamine to begin the day’s festivities.
The Lady Jaguars loaded the bases in each of the final four innings before finally pouncing on Russell for the extra-inning victory.
East Jessamine plated five runs in the eighth inning on an RBI double from Kaley Naylor and 2-run singles from starting pitcher Kaylee Terral and Haley Stansbury.
“They played good,” East Jessamine coach Tom Hamm said. “This is a very young team. We are starting three seventh-graders and two eighth-graders. It’s a very young team, but they are talented. They are coming around every game. They were hitting well today.”
Russell coach Dave Wheeler said his team recorded plenty of offense but couldn’t string outs together against the Lady Jaguars lineup.
Brylee Hage was 2 for 2 at the plate and scored four times. The East Jessamine 3-45 hitters went a combined 9 for 15.
“The runs we put up today should be enough to win a ball game,” Wheeler said.
“Nine runs on 14 hits should be enough to win. We are not making quality pitches. We are getting behind in the count. We are putting ourselves in these situations. We need to pound the strike zone more and learn to compete with the hitter. … We are just not making pitches as a staff.” East Jessamine (6-7) broke out to a 2-0 lead. Russell erased the early deficit on Sara Hieneman’s RBI double in the third frame to knot the score at 2-2.
Naylor’s base-clearing triple highlighted a five-run fourth inning for the Lady Jaguars.
The Lady Devils quickly answered with five runs in the bottom of the stanza that culminated with an inside-thepark home run by Grace Osborn.
The sophomore sent a liner down the left-field line. The ball scooted past the outfielder and Osborn never stopped as she rounded third and slid into home. The hit scored three runs.
“Grace has been real consistent all year,” Wheeler said.
“She can run a little bit and she handles the bat really well. She is capable of doing things to generate some runs. … She has had a good year so far.”
Every time East Jessamine took a lead, Russell (14-5) had the response. The Lady Devils gained their first lead of the contest when Alexis Maynard was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded.
Haven Layne went 3 for 4 at the plate. Ali Hartman, Annalee Miller and Camryn Ratliff each scored twice.
Ratliff recorded three singles. Hage doubled and come home on Terral’s RBI double in the seventh inning. That game-tying knock extended the game and set up the Lady Jaguars’ outburst in the following frame.
E.JESSAMINE 110 500 15 — 13 12 2 RUSSELL 011501 01— 914 1
Kay. Terral and Lane; Layne, Maynard (5) and Ratliff. W—Kay. Terral. L—Maynard. 2B—Hage (EJ), Kay. Terral (EJ), Naylor 2 (EJ), Hieneman (R), Layne (R). 3B—Naylor (EJ). HR—Osborn (R).
Hurricane (W.Va.) 15 East Carter 0
East Carter couldn’t weather the storm of extra-base hits as Hurricane made quick work of the Lady Raiders in four innings.
The two-time defending Class 3A state champions from West Virginia totaled 17 hits, eight that went for extra bases.
Calhoun said he decided not to put Fouts in the circle due to the limited number of available catchers.
“With Hurricane, you just can’t throw fastballs against them,” Calhoun said. “They are used to seeing that stuff.
We tried to throw our other girls who have some off-speed stuff and throw some different pitches. It didn’t work out and we didn’t play as well that game. … I was very pleased with our effort in the second game (against East Jessamine).”
The top five hitters in the Hurricane lineup have signed with Division I schools. Leadoff hitter Kiersten Landers is on her way to Florida State.
She was 3 for 4 with a triple and scored three runs.
Every player in the batting order scored for the Lady Redskins. Kate Adams and Taylor McCray each hit home runs.
Adams was 3 for 3 and collected five RBIs.
E.CARTER 000 0 — 0 1 1 HURRICANE 275 1 —15170
C. Tabor, Jobe (2), Castle (4) and Holmes; Vannattor and Adams. W—Vannattor. L—C. Tabor. 2B— Bailey (H), Adams (H), Mathas (H), Scruggs (H), Pharats (H). 3B—Landers (H). HR—Adams (H), Mc-Cray (H).