South Warren uses late run to power past Central Hardin
OWENSBORO — Carrying over momentum from their resilient Region 4 Championship victory one week earlier, South Warren used dominant seventh inning to turn back Central Hardin 8-3 on Thursday afternoon in the KHSAA State Softball Tournament at Jack C. Fisher Park.
Fighting it out with the Lady Bruins the entire game, the Lady Spartans scored five runs in the top of the seventh inning to break a 3-3 tie to take some pressure off of their shoulders.
“We were able to get the big hits to get us across the board and just added on from there,” said South Warren head coach Chris Riggs. “The top of the order did well tonight and the bottom of the order did their thing. It was a total team effort.”
- VIDEO: South Warren head coach Chris Riggs discusses the win
- VIDEO: South Warren’s Alexis Isable discusses the win
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Following her walk-off hit to give the Lady Spartans the region crown last Thursday, Shelby Nunn picked up where she left off on the mound by striking out 12 batters in a complete-game effort.
“(Shelby) did a good job mixing it up,” said Riggs. “We got a little crazy for a few innings but she got settled in with her fastball and her off-speed pitches.”
Central Hardin (31-9) took a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the first inning on a leadoff home run by Aubree Muse. The Lady Bruins would protect this lead through three innings.
In the top of the fourth inning, Nunn hit into an error at third base to bring in a run and Madilyn Daugherty added an RBI double to give the Lady Spartans a 2-1 lead.
The Lady Bruins answered quickly, scoring a run on a Lady Spartan error at third base, evening the game at 2-2.
South Warren reclaimed the lead in the top of the fifth inning as Alexis Isable hit a solo home run to give the Lady Spartans a 3-2 edge.
“I had been looking for a solid pitch all day,” said Isable. “I could tell that there was some spin on the ball so I just tried to keep my head down and hands through it.
When I saw the pitch, I knew I had to go for it and make solid contact. I wasn’t expecting a home run, but it just worked out.”
The lead would not last, though, as Central Hardin answered on another Lady Spartan error in the bottom of the fifth to bring in Muse for her second run of the game, knotting the contest at 3-3.
After a scoreless sixth inning by both teams, South Warren (33-3) turned on the power in the top of the seventh.
Nunn hit an RBI single to bring in Isable from second before Daugherty’s two-run double blew the game open at 6-3.
The following at-bat, Madison Stumbo hit two-run homer to center field to bing in two more insurance runs, giving the Lady Spartans an 8-3 lead.
“Anytime you can get a couple of runs on the board and get settled in, it’s always good,” said Riggs. “This team knows that you have to keep battling and keep putting the pressure on (the opponent). We’ve played in a lot of close games, but our girls believe in themselves and that’s what it takes.”
South Warren laid down 11 hits on the evening, including four from Daugherty and three from Lauren Martin. Central Hardin had eight hits including two apiece from Muse and Callie Sondergard.
With the win, the Lady Spartans will face East Carter, who defeated Collins 9-0 on Thursday evening, in the second round of the KHSAA State Softball Tournament at 9 a.m. on Friday morning.
“I told (the team) that we can enjoy (the win) for two or three hours, but we will get back together at the hotel and get our game plan together,” said Riggs. “We just have to go in and put our best foot forward.”
“We love early games,” said Isable. “I think it will get us prepared for the rest of the day.”