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No runs, no hits, no problems

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By John Herndon

Two years from now, Courtney Turpin can only hope to have a Senior Night of her own like she had Friday night.

The Anderson County sophomore fired a no-hitter at South Oldham and drove in an insurance run in the fifth inning to lead the Lady Bearcats to a 2-0 win over their Eighth Region rival. It was the first meeting between the programs since Anderson defeated South Oldham for the regional title in 2002.

Many times, Anderson coach Brian Glass has labeled Turpin "almost unhittable" after a dominating performance but Friday, Turpin threw with just enough power and precision to let her defense do the work behind her.

Turpin only struck out six batters, but had only one scare when South's Katie Boger placed a bloop over third base, but Anderson shortstop Emily Ethington raced behind the back to track down the flare.

"My fastball and my drop ball were working," said Turpin who allowed two base runners on walks.

Turpin said Friday's gem was not the first no-no of her varsity career, having thrown one last year. Seconds after watching Kelsey Tarrant line out to first baseman Lauren Brown, Turpin beamed as she high-fived pitching coach Dana Hudson.

"She just said, 'Good job,'" Turpin said.

But it wasn't all Turpin. In addition to Ethington's superb catch and flawless fielding at short, senior second baseman Emily Bucklew had a part in both runs, driving in the first and reaching base to allow pinch runner Christina Harvey to score the second.

The other seniors all had big days as well. Third baseman Miranda Drury singled to lead off the second then came home on Bucklew's hit. Center fielder Caitlyn Royalty made a nice running catch in left center and Mary Ann Warford, out all season with a torn anterior cruciate ligament, was a surprise starter in left field. She left after one batter.

Which is what South Oldham might have wanted to be the case with Turpin.

In reality, the no-hitter was simply the meat in a sandwich of three consecutive stellar pitching performances from Turpin. Wednesday, she might have had one bad pitch in a 5-3 win over Western Hills. Saturday, Turpin took the loss as Male scored an unearned run in the sixth to beat Anderson 1-0 at Ballard High School in Louisville.

SOUTH OLDHAM 000 000 0 - 0 0 0

ANDERSON CO 010 010 x - 2 5 0

Bratton and Snider. Turpin and Davenport. W - Turpin L - Bratton. Records: South Oldham 12-7, Anderson County 21-9.

Anderson 5, Western Hills 3

It was not supposed to be so easy.

In the end, it wasn't.

Anderson County built a 5-0 lead then got the big out with the tying run at the plate to hold off visiting Western Hills 5-3 on Wednesday night.

Anderson, ranked 13th in the state in the coaches' poll released earlier in the day, registered its eighth consecutive win. Western Hills, ranked 14th, had won 19 of 20 coming into the contest.

After an inning, though, it looked as if the teams were miles apart on the field. Royalty tagged Western Hills pitcher Miranda Buchanan with a lead-off double, then scored on Turpin's single. After Ethington's sacrifice bunt, Harvey came home on Kritty Morrow's ground out.

"Caitlyn has really been playing well and leading off with a double off the fence got us going," Glass said.

"Turpin is an outstanding hitter and when both Royalty and Turpin are hitting we are tough to beat. Ethington is also doing an extremely good job offensively of getting every bunt I call for down. With Caitlyn and Turpin hitting so well I have been calling for a lot of bunts out of Ethington and she is delivering."

Meanwhile, Turpin let her defense do the work to mow down the Wolverines through 4.1 perfect innings.

She only recorded two strikeouts her first time through the order, but Western Hills did not manage to get the ball to the outfield grass until Katie Wiard blooped a single just in front of Morrow in left field.

Ethington had turned in the play of the night to preserve perfection, going deep in the hole at short and firing a bullet to first that cut down Lauren Triplett for the second out in the fourth.

"Ethington has been outstanding for us, she makes all plays look easy," Glass said.

The Lady Bearcats reached Buchanan for 3 more runs in the bottom of the fifth. Tiffany Davenport and Karrah Bottoms singled before Royalty bunted to score K.K. Fitzpatrick, running for Davenport.

Turpin followed with a run-scoring single and Ethington made it 5-0, driving in Royalty with a ground out.

"Everything we did that inning was executed," Glass said.

"I would like to take credit for a squeeze play but, I just called for a bunt and K.K. made a great decision to break for home. She had the option to get her secondary lead and break after a throw to first but she was aggressive, made a good decision and it worked great."

Western Hills, which fell to 24-4, showed that its flirtation with the state's top 10 was no fluke. The Wolverines reached Turpin for 3 runs in the sixth with Whaley, the Lady Wolverines designated hitter, delivering a 2-out, bases-loaded double that made it 5-3.

Turpin got Tara Arnold, representing the tying run, to pop to Bucklew at second to end the uprising. The sophomore right-hander made sure the lead would hold, retiring the side in order with a pair of strikeouts to close things out in the seventh.

"Turpin pitched great, they just got a big hit when they needed it to score 3 runs," Glass said. "They are a very good hitting team and Courtney got good run support from her teammates."