PCHS Senior McKayla Rucker eyes the Pitcher moments before hitting what turned out to be the game winning home-run against Breathitt County on April 26.
The Lady Pirates had a much better week as some things are starting to come together for the young team. Powell picked up three wins, two in district play and an opening round win in the Powell County Invitational Tournament. They did lose three games, but played some top teams close as they begin the push towards the only season that really matters, the postseason.
Powell traveled to Booneville last Monday to play the Owsley County Lady Owls. The Lady Pirates added four eighth graders to help fill gaps created by school trips and injuries as they needed to pick up some wins. It helped the team right away.
The team got off to a slow start, scoring a quick run in the first inning. But they then exploded for four more runs in the second, four in the third and six in the fourth.
Meanwhile, sophomore pitcher Kelly Bloom gave up a base hit with two outs in the first inning and then another one with two down in the fifth. In between she hammered down. Bloom held the Lady Owls hitless in between those two singles. She struck out eight and walked one Owsley batter. Powell won easily, 15-0.
One of the eighth graders, Chloe Grater, started in centerfield and led the team at the plate. Grater went 3-for-4, scored two runs and picked up three RBI’s. Freshman Kairi Wickline was 2-for-3 with four RBI’s, while freshman Madisyn Combs was 2-for-3. Brook Smith went 2-for-4 at the plate.
The same two teams met again last Wednesday in Stanton and the result was pretty much the same. Powell scored three runs in the first inning to get things going. The Lady Pirates then tacked on five more runs in the third and sealed the mercy rule victory with one more score in the fourth. Powell won easily, 10-0.
Senior Emily Branham went 3-for-4 at the plate to lead the Powell team. The Lady Pirates scored those runs on nine hits and four Owsley errors. The wins over the Lady Owls last week evened Powell’s district record at 2-2.
Last Friday Powell opened the PCIT after a late rain storm delayed the start of the tournament. The Lady Pirates opened the tourney taking on Breathitt County. The Lady Bobcats scored first in their first at bat, but Powell regrouped in the second. Powell went on a roll with two outs in the inning, scoring four runs on four straight hits. Powell enjoyed a 4-1 lead.
But the Lady Cats began chipping away at the lead. Breathitt scored a run in the third inning and added two more in the fourth to tie the game. With the tournament time limit looming and possibly forcing an inning of international rule play, the game was becoming a classic.
With that aforementioned time limit closing in, Powell had a chance to win the game in their final at bat. The first two batters went down quickly, but each hit the ball hard. Senior McKayla Rucker stepped to the plate with two outs. Rucker worked the count to 3-2 before driving the next pitch over the left field fence for her third home run of the season, ninth in her career. Powell captured a much needed and deserved 5-4 region win.
Kelly Bloom went 3-for-3 in the win, as did Rucker in the game. The defense played an important role in the win as Powell committed no errors and made some key plays to end Breathitt threats.
Powell rounded out the tournament on a down swing, but showed improvement against some talented teams. Powell closed the Friday night games taking on Franklin County (12-8). It was all Lady Flyers in this game as they won easily 16-0.
On Saturday, the Lady Pirates took on Johnson Central, another top rated team in the 15th Region. The two teams met in the first week of the season and the Lady Eagles won that game easily 11-0. But this game was a lot different.
Johnson Central jumped out to a 4-0 lead in the first inning and added four more runs in the second to make it 8-0. Powell got on the scoreboard in the third. With two outs Chloe Grater and Emily Branham singled and moved to second and third on a throw from the outfield. With runners on second and third, McKayla Rucker singled driving in both Branham and Grater. The score stood at 8-2.
Johnson Central added another run on a monster home run by Ali Jude to left field to make it 9-2. But Powell made another run. Once again with two outs in the fifth, Grater doubled to center. Branham hit a bloop single to left and Rucker shot a single to left that drove in Grater and Branham. An error on the left fielder allowed Rucker to move to second. Kelly Bloom then singled to right field to score Rucker. The score stood at 9-5 and that is how it ended as time ran out.
Branham led the Lady Pirates at the plate going 3-for-3 and scoring two runs. Grater was 2-for-3 with a double and Rucker went 2-for-3 and picked up four RBI’s.
In Powell’s final game of the tournament they took on Boone County. The Lady Pirates batted first and pushed a run across in the top of the first inning. But the Lady Rebels, a well disciplined team, settled in and scored three runs in the third, as Powell added two in the same inning to make it a 7-3 game. But despite a good defensive showing and some improvement at the plate by the Lady Pirates, Boone added four more runs and won the game , 11-3.
Boone County ended up winning the tournament with a perfect 4-0 record.
Powell improved to 6-19 on the season and have a light schedule this week. The Lady Pirates were set to travel to Beattyville for an important district seeding game against Lee County. The Lady Bobcats took a 5-4 win in Stanton on April 15. If Powell can win by two runs they could capture the two seed in the district, a loss would put them at the third seed.
The Lady Pirates will travel to Richmond Model today (Thursday, May 2) to try to avenge a 13-10 loss in Stanton on Mar. 30. Powell will take the weekend off for the Prom before hosting Estill County on Monday and Jackson City on Tuesday. The Lady Pirates will host Bath County on Wednesday.