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SHELBYVILLE – There were no excuses.
There could not be after Simon Kenton had ended Anderson County’s quest to repeat as Eighth Region champions Monday.
The Pioneers took advantage of four Anderson errors to score a 6-2 win in the first round of the regional tournament at the Shelby County Athletic Complex. Simon Kenton, the winningest team in the region, stunned the seventh-ranked Lady Bearcats with six unearned runs to advance to Tuesday’s semifinal game against Oldham County.
“All teams know you can’t have innings like that and be effective,” Anderson coach Brian Glass said. “You can’t make excuses. We got beat.”
More precisely, Anderson beat itself with the errors, three of which were committed on routine plays. The Lady Cats went through a stretch of three errors in four plays in the decisive inning, then saw Simon Kenton’s Courtney Morgan rip a three-run double to right-center to put the Pioneers in control 5-0.
Simon Kenton sent 10 batters to the plate in the decisive inning, which was reminiscent of the third inning of the 30th District final six days earlier.
“I wish I knew,” Glass said when asked for a reason for his team’s sudden penchant for one-inning meltdowns. “You can’t take it away. You have to make the plays and we didn’t. There are no excuses.
Before the implosion, it looked like things would be tight as Anderson’s Courtney Turpin was locked in a pitcher’s duel with Simon Kenton’s Kayla Morgan. Turpin was making Simon Kenton’s hitters look generally awful through the first three innings, occasionally blowing a heater by someone but usually opting for a leisurely changeup. She struck out six in the first three chances.
Anderson was making contact on Morgan’s offerings but had little to show for it. Singles by Kelsey New and Karrah Bottoms, the seven and nine hitters in the lineup, were all Anderson had to show for the first five innings.
New, an eighth-grader, had been inserted into the starting lineup for Chelsea Bright at third base and came up with two hits. Bright, coming back as a pinch hitter, delivered a run-scoring single in the seventh.
But Simon Kenton took its one chance and made the most of it. “Four errors. That means we gave them seven outs,” Glass said. “You can’t just give someone seven outs. That’s tough.”
The Lady Bearcats might have gotten a reprieve when a light rain turned steady, prompting the umpires to call for a delay going into the sixth inning. After a wait, it looked as if things would clear off to get things going againin less than two hours. Instead, the skies opened again, making things look as if the game might have to be suspended.
“Some of the kids went out and ate,” Glass said. “Chris (Glass, an assistant coach) talked to the kids about not giving up.”
After the rain stopped, the Shelby County support staff was able to get the field playable and it appeared that the Lady Bearcats were a different team.
With only two hits through the first five innings, the Lady Cats strung together four consecutive singles with one out. Bottoms, who had gotten things started with her second hit, scored.on Christina Harvey’s single.
But just as it seemed that Anderson was about to make its own big inning, Kayla Morgan bore down to get out of the bases-loaded jam with no further damage.
The Lady Cats also got three straight hits to open the seventh inning, with Chelsea Bright driving in Brooke Collins. But Morgan again buckled down to retire the final three batters with Turpin flying out to deep center to end the game.
“I was proud of the team that for the last two innings after we came back, they kept fighting,” Glass said. “But we should have been hitting the ball like that for the entire game.
“But we didn’t and we got beat. I told the girls we were not going to make any excuses.”
E-mail John Herndon at email@example.com.