BY ZACK KLEMME
THE DAILY INDEPENDENT
FLATWOODS Monday was a bad day for Lewis County to have a bad day.
It was business as usual for Russell.
The Lady Devils raked out 12 base hits — 10 singles — and got a two-hitter from Haven Layne in an 11-0 run-ruling of the Lady Lions in the 63rd District Tournament semifinals at Russell.
“Haven’s been throwing the ball really good lately, and obviously, we’ve swung the bat well all year,” Lady Devils coach Dave Wheeler said. “When those two things blend together, you have a recipe for success.”
Russell advances to the district championship game and the 16th Region Tournament for the 10th consecutive spring. Lewis County’s season ends shy of those goals for the ninth straight year.
Alexis Maynard was 3 for 3 with two RBIs for the Lady Devils (27-9), who matched their winningest single- season total in 11 years. Grace Osborn, Annalee Miller and Sara Hieneman each had two hits, and Hieneman and Ali Hartman both drove in two runs.
Russell’s aggressive baserunning and the Lady Lions’ defensive struggles compounded the Lady Devils’ skill with the sticks.
The Lady Lions, whose 18 wins was their most since 2006, committed six errors in four defensive innings.
“We had more errors this game, probably, than we did the whole second half of the season,” Lady Lions coach David “Pudge” Stafford said. “I don’t know what it is. It just seems like against Russell, it just balloons everything.”
Russell got all the offense it needed in the home half of the first inning. Hieneman’s bouncer up the middle plated Miller, who had tripled, and Makayla Fraley worked a bases-loaded walk. Layne’s RBI groundout gave her a three-run lead.
“I don’t think there’s anything that (Jalyssa) Cortez was doing wrong,” Wheeler said of Lewis County’s pitcher, “it was everything our hitters were doing correctly.
We wanted to be really short to the ball and keep it out of the air ... made (Lewis County) handle the ball a little bit more, and good things happen when you make people handle the ball and you hit it hard.”
Layne went the mercy-rule-shortened distance, allowing only singles to Cortez and Kylee Caudill and a fielder’s choice. She finished with three strikeouts and no walks.
The Lady Lions got one runner into scoring position, when Cortez got on with a fourth-inning fielder’s choice and took second on a groundout.
Layne got another groundout to end the threat.
The Lady Devils beat Lewis County for the 23rd straight time. The Lady Lions have won just twice in their last 57 games against district opposition.
Lewis County (1613) did record its first winning season since 2012, and loses only two players to graduation, Stafford said.
“We got five juniors, three of them start, and the rest of them are sophomores and freshmen, and we’ve got a good middle school program coming,” Stafford said.
“We’re gonna keep trying to take that next step.”
LEWISCO. 000 00 — 0 2 6 RUSSELL 353 0X — 11120 Cortez and Stamm; Layne and Ratliff. W—Layne. L—Cortez. 2B— Hartman (R). 3B—Miller (R).