The Russell County Lady Lakers (11-6, 2-0) hosted the Lady Laker Classic on Saturday, coming out victorious against both visiting teams, Taylor County and Southwestern.
The Lady Laker Classic is typically a tournament, but this season, it was played as a triangle format, with Russell County, Taylor County, and Southwestern playing each other once apiece.
Russell County went 2-0 at the event and is on its longest winning streak of the season at four games. Taylor County went 1-1, and Southwestern was 0-2.
Russell County defeats Taylor County 6-4
Russell County’s 6-4 victory over Taylor County to kick off the Lady Laker Classic ended up being a similar story to when the teams met in the first game of the season for both squads.
In that first matchup, Russell County scored five runs in the bottom of the sixth to take a late 6-3 lead.
On Saturday, the Lady Lakers were trailing 4-3 heading into the final inning, and once again, Russell County came out on top after scoring three runs in the top of the seventh (while Russell County was the host team for the event, each participant in the Lady Laker Classic was the “home” team for one game, accounting for why Russell County batted in the top of the inning).
Senior Caroline Wells got the rally started with a walk, and eighth-grader Kiara Kemp followed that with a ground-out that moved Wells to second base. Junior Mady Hatchett hit a line drive double to left field to bring Wells home.
Senior Payton Kinnett followed that with another double, although Hatchett was held up at third base. Senior Sophie Shearer then drew a walk to load the bases, allowing junior Emma Popplewell to bring home Hatchett on a single to center field, giving the Lady Lakers their first lead of the game. Jadyn Mann drew another walk to bring in Russell County’s sixth and final run.
Taylor County was able to get two base runners on with no outs to start the bottom of the seventh inning, but the Lady Lakers made plays in the field for three consecutive outs.
Russell County recorded 10 hits in the game. Popplewell had a team-high three hits, and Hatchett added two hits as well. Kinnett, Shearer, Mann, senior Tarryn Reynolds, and Kemp each added one hit apiece.
Mann led the team with two RBI.
In the pitcher’s circle, Reynolds went all seven innings, allowing 11 hits but only giving up four runs (three earned runs). She had two strikeouts and only walked one batter.
Lady Lakers get revenge on Southwestern
In its second game of the Lady Laker Classic, Russell County got the chance to avenge an early-season loss, defeating the Southwestern Lady Warriors by a score of 7-2.
The Lady Lakers lost 8-3 against Southwestern on March 19, but in the rematch, Russell County took an early lead and never looked back.
In the first frame, Kinnett drew a walk and Popplewell hit a hard ground ball to third base that was misplayed by the fielder.
With two outs and runners on first and second, Southwestern threw a wild pitch that advanced Kinnett and Popplewell to third and second, respectively. Reynolds drove in both runners with a single on another hard grounder to third to give Russell County a 2-0 lead.
After no scoring for either team in the second, the Lady Lakers scored three runs in the third inning, with RBI from Mann, Reynolds, and sophomore Addie Davis to extend their lead to 5-0.
Southwestern responded with two runs in the fourth inning, but a solo home run by Reynolds and RBI single from Hatchett in the fifth put the Lady Lakers up 7-2 to conclude the scoring for the game.
Reynolds was a key factor for the Lady Lakers at the plate and in the pitcher’s circle, going 2-for-4 with four RBI and a run scored on offense while also pitching a complete game win with seven strikeouts, no walks, and no earned runs allowed.
Russell County is scheduled to play two road district games this week, first against Cumberland County (5-8, 1-0) on Tuesday and then Clinton County (7-5, 0-2) on Thursday. The Lady Lakers’ next home game is Friday against Barren County (9-5) at 5:30 p.m.