Lady Cats roll to Classic win

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Anderson defeats ranked teams in taking Clark tourney title

By John Herndon

The buzz word is no longer “rebuilding.” Anderson County softball has reloaded in 2009.

The Lady Bearcats underscored that with wins over three ranked teams to win the championship of the Big Eight Classic on Friday and Saturday. The tournament was hosted by George Rogers Clark High School.

“Our pitching was outstanding,” Anderson coach Brian Glass said. “(Courtney) Turpin only gave up one earned run in three games with 21 strikeouts.

“The defense was very solid and our base running was great. However, the first two games of the tournament, our hitting was not good and this is why I didn’t feel we played well offensively.”

Anderson, which got off to a shaky start in the first week of the season, has not lost a game in the month of April and has run its winning streak to 10.

Anderson, now ranked 13th statewide, opened the tournament with a 3-1 win over the host school in a rematch of the first round of last year’s state tournament. Anderson won that one 6-0.

Turpin gave up four hits and scored the game’s first run when she doubled in the first, went to third on a passed ball, then scored on Lauren Brown’s ground out.

Aggressive base running gave the Lady Bearcats the go-ahead run when K.K. Fitzpatrick, running for Ashley Cotton, stole second, then raced home when the throw went to center field.

Anderson added an insurance run in the sixth when pinch runner Caroline McDowell, running for Brown, scored on Chelsea Bright’s single.

Clark pitcher Amy Haggard limited Anderson to four hits. “She did an outstanding job hitting her spots,” Glass said.

“We did not hit her well. Clark has a very solid team and I wouldn’t be surprised if they went to the state tournament again.”

Clark was ranked 16th in the state and at the top of the 10th Region in last week’s coaches’ poll.

The Lady Bearcats escaped with a 3-2 win over Woodford County in eight innings, taking advantage of some shaky Yellow Jacket defense in the extra frame.

With the international tie-breaker in effect, Turpin was placed on second. With one out, Turpin stole third, then broke home after the Woodford catcher dropped a third strike and threw Bright out at first.

Both of Anderson’s previous runs had come by taking advantage of Woodford’s defense.

An error and dropped third strike led to a first inning run and the Lady Bearcat base running prompted a pair of passed balls and an error leading to the second run.

Woodford tied things in the bottom of the seventh, scoring with two outs. Woodford hit what would have been the game’s final out, but the ball took a bad hop and hit Turpin in the chin. Momentarily stunned, Turpin could not make a play on the ball.

The Anderson defense rose to the occasion in the bottom of the eighth.

With one out and a runner on second because of the international tie breaker, the cleanup hitter lined to right, but Karrah Bottoms made a running catch then fired to second base to complete the game-ending double play.

Woodford had been ranked in the top 25 in recent weeks but dropped out in last week’s poll, leading the group of other schools receiving votes.

In the championship game, the Lady Bearcats’ bats woke up as they pounded 20th-ranked Dunbar 11-0.

The Lady Bearcats grabbed a quick 2-0 lead in the first, then put things away with a four-spot in the third. Leadoff hitter Christina Harvey got things going with a drag bunt to open the game, then scored on Brown’s groundout, but it was Harvey’s speed that opened the door to the big third inning.

Harvey reached base four times in five at bats.

Harvey singled again, then beat a throw to second on a fielder’s choice. Tiffany Davenport later ripped a two-run single and Ashley Cotton drove in another run with a single. Davenport and Cotton both had two hits on the night.

Brown put the exclamation point on the tournament title with a two-run double in the seventh.

Turpin limited Dunbar to three hits.

The teams will meet again this Friday, May 1, at Dunbar High School in Lexington.

E-mail John Herndon at jpherndon@theandersonnews.com.