The Powell County Lady Pirates opened the 2018 fast pitch softball season with a lot of desire and drive. The end of the 2017 season left a bitter taste in their mouths. For the first time since 2006, Powell lost in the first round of the district tournament to Lee County. It hurt more when you realize Powell was one run away from a mercy rule win, only to lose in last year’s district first round, 24-12.
This past Monday night Powell and Lee matched up again in what became a defensive and pitching gem, while the bats were somewhat quiet. The instant classic gam saw Powell use the small ball game to pick up a 2-1 win.
Lee scored first when they drew a walk in the second inning. A pitch in the dirt and a questionable call later put Lady Kat Hallie Land on third base. A ground ball out to first by Lindsey Wolf allowed Land to score. Lee led 1-0.
It stayed that way until the third when Lady Pirate shortstop MaKayla Rucker reached base on a single to left field. Rucker went to second on a passed ball. Haleigh Bauer put down a bunt for a hit, moving Rucker to third base. A quick error by the Lee catcher allowed allowed Rucker to score. The game stood at 1-1, despite each side having opportunities to score. Both teams missed key chances as the defense and pitchers worked out of the jams.
That was until the seventh inning. Lee loaded the bases, only to come up empty. In Powell’s half of the seventh inning started as Rucker once again singled to left. Bauer followed with another bunt for a single. Emily Branham executed a sacrifice bunt to move Rucker to third and Bauer to second.
Lee played the odds and intentionally walked Kelly Bloom to load the bases. The Lady Kats were looking for an easy free out at home. In stepped Powell pitcher Chloe Billings, who was already 0-for-3 in the game. Billings bunted as well. The Lady Kats response to throw to the plate was futile as the catcher dropped the ball. Rucker scored another run. Powell won 2-1.
Despite Powell having to use the small ball strategy to win, picking up only six hits and stranding 10 runners, it was the defensive play and pitching that paved the way. Billings gave up only two hits and struck out 10 batters. Rucker went 3-for-4 at the plate, scoring both of the Lady Pirates runs. Nellie Noble went 3-for-3 as well,
Powell had opened their season back on Mar. 19 with a blistering 18-3, three inning, win over Owsley County in the season opener. After a bought with the crazy weather, Powell hosted defending regional champion Leslie County last Friday. After a sluggish start, Powell’s bats got some life to them, The result was a 13-3 mercy rule win over the Lady Eagles.
Powell has opened the new season 3-0, the best start since 2015 when they won their first six games and eight of their first nine. The Lady Pirates were scheduled to host Jackson City this past Tuesday.
Then they were set to hit the road this Thursday to play Morgan County before heading to Breathitt County on Friday and Saturday. The weekend games are part of the Second Annual Game On! KY Classic. Powell will play Perry Central to open the tournament on Friday. Game time is slated for 7:30 p.m.