BY ROCKY STANLEY
THE DAILY INDEPENDENT
Russell's Alexis Maynard focuses on a pitch.
Lawrence County’s Emily Burke slides in at third base as she tries unsuccessfully to beat a throw from Russell's Makayla Fraley to Sara Hieneman on Thursday. Russell won,4-3.
PHOTOS BY MARTY CONLEY | FOR THE DAILY INDEPENDENT
FLATWOODS Alexis Maynard made amends for a key defensive misplay with one swing of her bat.
Russell’s senior first baseman drilled the first pitch she saw in the seventh inning for a two-run single to lift the Lady Devils past Lawrence County, 4-3, on Thursday night.
Grace Osborn led off the winning rally by reaching on an error and Annalee Miller followed with a bunt single. Both runners moved up on a wild pitch, prompting Lawrence County to intentionally walk highly dangerous Sara Hieneman with a 2-2 count.
That set the stage for Maynard, whose game-winning hit raised her season RBI total to 50.
Maynard said she was “definitely” motivated to make up for her error in the top of the inning that led to Lawrence County’s go-ahead run.
Maynard misplayed Abby Fletcher’s grounder down the first-base line and then lost her balance and fell allowing courtesy runner Emily Burke and Fletcher to take another base.
“That was embarrassing,” Maynard said. “The ball kind of rolled all over me.”
Russell coach Dave Wheeler let Maynard hear about it.
“I got after Alexis a little bit about not making a play, but she redeemed herself,” Wheeler said.
The Lady Devils moved to 269 with their fourth consecutive victory. Russell has another home game scheduled for Saturday at 11:30 a.m. against Pikeville before heading into the 63rd District tournament.
Wheeler and Lawrence County coach Kenny Horn played baseball together for the Bulldogs.
Horn again has Lawrence County contending in the 15th Region. They Lady Bulldogs are 9-3 inside their region and 14-15 overall.
“Kenny does a great job,” Wheeler said. “At the end of the season, I like to play teams outside of our region. We knew this was going to be a good test.”
Russell sophomore Haven Layne pitched a three-hitter and worked around six walks and a hit batter for her 17th win. All three of Lawrence County’s runs were unearned.
“Haven made some big pitches with runners in scoring position,” Wheeler said.
The Lady Bulldogs scored two quick runs and starting pitcher Ciana Bowen made the 2-0 lead stand up through four innings.
“Ciana moved it around really well,” Wheeler sad. “I think our first nine or 10 outs were on pop ups and fly balls. Both pitchers threw like it was a tournament game. It was low scoring. Both teams were able to take advantage of opportunities when the defenses made mistakes.”
Russell broke through in the fifth after Grace Osborn led off with an infield hit. Sara Hieneman lined a 3-2 pitch over the fence for her 13th homer of the season.
“Ciana threw only one bad pitch all day,” Horn said. “It was suppose to be a drop ball, but just didn’t have any bite.”
Miller, Maynard and Madison Darnell each supplied two hits for the Lady Devils.
Two of Lawrence County’s three runs came on sacrifice bunts executed by Fletcher and Brittany Shapaka. The Lady Bulldogs return to action Monday against Phelps in the 60th District tournament.
LAWRENCECO. 200 000 1— 3 3 2 RUSSELL 000 020 2 — 4 9 2 Bowen and Rice; Layne and Ratliff. W—Layne. L— Bowen. HR—Hieneman (R).
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