High School Sports

Scott County shakes off South Warren in state softball opener

Scott County outfielder Emily Jasper slides back to third base during the second inning of the game against South Warren in the first round game on Thursday at Jack C. Fisher Park in Owensboro.
Scott County outfielder Emily Jasper slides back to third base during the second inning of the game against South Warren in the first round game on Thursday at Jack C. Fisher Park in Owensboro. Owensboro Messenger-Inquirer

Other than a lapse in the top of the fifth inning during which South Warren scored four runs after a pitching change, Scott County looked every bit like one of the favorites in the Worth/KHSAA State Softball Tournament. The Cardinals (32-2) advanced to the winners’-bracket quarterfinals with a 13-4 win over the Spartans, who are in the field for the first time in school history.

Sophomore star Kennedy Sullivan pitched four scoreless innings before giving up the ball to CeCe Wittry. The junior recorded a strikeout before giving up four runs. Sullivan returned and kept South Warren at bay the rest of the night.

Sullivan finished with 15 strikeouts and gave up only two hits. She went 1-for-3 at the plate with three RBI. Taylor Ricketts, a senior, also drove in three runs on 2-for-4 hitting.

Being reinserted after exiting the game was difficult but a challenge Sullivan welcomed.

“You come out and get in your groove and that kind of gets ruined a bit, but you’ve just gotta focus back in,” Sullivan said. “Even if your team’s down a little bit, you’ve got to be there and pick them back up ’cause they need you. Especially, as a pitcher, they really need you.”

After the game, Scott County Coach Jeff Portwood told his players that if they stay out of their own heads, they’ll be able to put together a good Friday. Some of them were down after poor days at the plate.

“They’re at that age where it bothers ’em and we’re trying to overcome that and just let them know that tomorrow’s a new day,” Portwood said.

The Cardinals meet Louisville Holy Cross, who lost to Scott County 7-2 in the opening week of the season, at 10 a.m. EDT. South Warren (25-14) meets Anderson County (26-10), which fell 10-4 to Holy Cross (29-10).

Highlands 5, Clark County 1: Shortstop Haley Coffey went 2-for-4 and scored two runs for the Bluebirds, who are in their second state tournament.

Highlands meets Daviess County in the winners’-bracket quarterfinals. The Panthers advanced with a 5-1 win over Central Hardin.

Catcher Taylor Brown was 3-for-4 with two RBI for Daviess County, which last season fell in the first round of the tournament to eventual champion McCracken County.

Central Hardin and Clark County will face off in the first round of consolation play. Any team playing in that round would have to win six games to reach the championship finals.

North Laurel 10, Estill County 5: The Engineers put together a five-run frame in the middle of the game but couldn’t overcome a 10-0 Jaguars lead.

Mikayla Vires went 3-for-4 with two doubles for North Laurel (24-12). She drove in three runs, including a two-RBI double in the top of the first as part of a six-run inning.

Louisville Holy Cross 10, Anderson County 4: The Cougars jumped on the Bearcats out of the gate, scoring four runs on three hits and a walk in the first inning. They added five more runs in the bottom of the third.

Anderson County star Bailey Curry, a University of Toledo commit, went 2-for-4 with an RBI.

Josh Moore: 859-231-1307, @HLpreps

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