The Henry County Lady Cats used the combined pitching of Aly Stanley and Paige DeBurger and good defense to shut down the Shelby County Lady Rockets’ offense and come out with a 3-1 win on Friday evening in New Castle.
Neither team could get their offense going in the first two innings as Shelby County got one base runner on in the first and one in the second and Henry County went down in order in both innings.
The Rockets got the first run of the game in the third when they got a one-out triple and then the Henry County defense committed an error on a squeeze bunt play to allow the base runner to score.
Madison Rabourn got Henry County’s first hit to lead off the third but she was stranded at third after two sacrifice bunts and a groundout to shortstop.
Shelby County threatened to add to their lead in the fourth. The lead off hitter reached second on an error and after a strikeout, Lady Cat catcher Cheyenne Clark threw out the base runner attempting to steal third.
The next batter got an infield hit when pitcher Aly Stanley dived to her right to snag a hard shot up the middle but could not recover in time to get the runner at first. The next two batters reached on walks to load the bases before Stanley induced a ground ball to second baseman Olivia Whaley for the final out of the inning.
Henry County threatened in the fourth inning when Whaley and Clark led off with back-to-back singles. But the next two batters, Ray and Cline popped out before Haley Miles hit a sharp line drive that was snagged by the third baseman for the final out of the inning.
The Lady Rockets got their first two runners on to start the top of the fifth via a walk and hit batter. DeBurger relieved Stanley and got the next three batters out to stop the threat.
The Lady Cats were the beneficiaries of some defensive breakdowns by the Lady Rockets in the fifth inning as they scored three unearned runs. Rabourn started the inning with a double to left field. Two outs later Rabourn was on third after a sacrifice bunt when Aly Stanley hit a long fly ball to centerfield that was misplayed allowing Rabourn to score and Stanley to reach second base.
Whaley followed with a hard shot to centerfield. The Lady Rockets got a good jump and nearly made a nice over the head catch but she could not hold on to the ball and Stanley scored the go-ahead run while Whaley hustled all the way to third.
Clark followed and hit a pop up behind second base that misplayed for the third error of the inning allowing Whaley to score the final run of the game.
The Lady Rockets got a single to start the sixth but after two straight force plays at second faced a two-out situation with a runner on first. The runner attempted to steal second but Clark made a nice throw to easily get the runner at second and end the inning.
After the Lady Cats went down in order in the bottom of the inning, Shelby County came to the plate with one last chance to get back in the game.
A lead off single and an error by the Lady Cats gave Shelby County two runners on with no outs. But the next Lady Rockets’ batter hit a hard ground ball to Molly Williamson at third base. Williamson made the backhanded stab, touched third and threw to first to get a big double play. That made it two outs with a runner on second. The final out of the game came on a fly out to right fielder Kat James to give the Lady Cats a big win after their disappointing loss to Owen County the night before.
“This was a good game for us,” Coach Jon Kasten said. “They have decent pitching and pretty good defense. We played much better defense in this game. Molly Williamson made a couple of great plays at third base to stop them from scoring. One came in the first inning on a hard line drive that got on her very quick and then the big double play in the seventh inning when Shelby was threatening with nobody out. Paige DeBurger came in during the fifth inning to pitch us out of a jam. She finished the game for us and earned the win. She threw strikes and the defense was behind her. It was nice to have our defense having the pitcher’s back.”
Owen Co. 6 HCHS 4
The Lady Cats came back from a 2-0 deficit only to give the Rebels a big inning that cost them the game.
Owen Scored their first run in the bottom of the first when their lead off hitter walked, stole second and third base and then came home on a wild pitch. Their second run came in the third when the lead off batter hit a homer to left field in the bottom of the third.
Henry County got a run back in the fourth inning. Shelby Ray, Haley Miles and Rabourn all drew walks to start the inning. After a pop out to the catcher, James reached on an error and Ray scored. Stanley then flied out to center field and Miles tagged up to try and score the second run but a perfect throw to the plate got her and the Lady Rebels escaped a major jam with only one run scoring.
But the Lady Cats weren’t finished. They came back in the fifth to score three runs and take a 4-2 lead. The Lady Cats were aided by a couple of hit batters, single, a walk and a throwing error. Whaley, Ray and Clark scored the runs and Miles reached on a field’s choice that drove in Whaley. The Lady Cats loaded the bases again in the inning but Owen County escaped without further damage.
The Lady Cats’ lead was short-lived as Owen County came back to score four runs in the bottom of the fifth. The Lady Rebels got four hits, a hit batter and the benefit of one Henry County error and one wild pitch to score their runs.
The Lady Cats threatened in the top of the seventh when Ray singled to lead off and Miles followed with a base hit but Owen County got a force at third, a strikeout and a ground out to end the game.
“We had several opportunities to get more runs throughout this game and just couldn’t get it done,” Kasten said. The middle to back part of the lineup produced in this game but we couldn’t get much out of the top of the order. Defensively, we had one bad inning, but that is all it took for us to lose this game.”