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SHELBYVILLE – There were plenty of reasons for Anderson County to be happy Monday night, but the Lady Bearcats' 30th District win over Collins was far from perfect.
To be sure, Anderson flexed its muscles quickly with a five-run uprising in the top of the first. The Lady Bearcats added another in the second but instead of coasting to a rout, Anderson had to work for the win.
“We didn't play well,” said Anderson coach Brian Glass, who saw his team improve to a surprising 14-2.Anderson also took control of the district seeding race and now only needs to beat Spencer County (1-7) next week to claim the No. 1 slot for the 30th District Tournament.
But a 10-4 win that turned out to be a bit tougher than it should have been prompted Glass to remind his team it still has a long way to go.
“These kids are young but they have to learn that when you have a team down, you finish them off,” Glass said.
Still, there were some major bright spots. Eighth-grade catcher Bailey Curry went 4-for-4 with a double, drew a walk and had two RBI.”She has just become a great hitter,” Glass said. “We forget she is still only 13, but she now has an understanding of pitch counts and situational hitting.”
Freshman Courtney-Gale Hawkins smacked a pair of hits while classmate Trista Craigmyle, who entered the game when starting center-fielder Molly Burkhead experienced some lower back problems, belted a double and scored three runs.
And pitchers Ally Moore and Mia Aldridge overcame a night when they did not have their best stuff but survived two major threats, getting Collins to strand five base-runners in the second and third innings.
Moore, who started and got the win, got in trouble in the second when she gave up five singles and three runs before Glass brought Aldridge on with two out.
“Ally struggled tonight with getting the ball up and over the plate,” Glass said. “Mia came in and did a great job getting us out of the inning.”
Aldridge struck out Sydney Cloyd to end the threat but an inning later, Collins loaded the sacks with one out before Bailey Rankin was forced at home.
Aldridge then fanned Lindsay Ketcham to end another threat.
Collins, which fell to 9-12 and 0-1 in district play, plated a run in the sixth, but by that time, Anderson had firmly regained control. Moore had re-entered the game in the top of the fourth.
Anderson had dictated how things would go from the outset when Burkhead and Anna-Marie Hyatt walked. Curry's single drove Burkhead home and Hyatt scored on an error.
Hawkins doubled home Craigmyle, courtesy running for Curry, then scored herself on Madison Brummett's sacrifice fly. Burkhead, batting for a second time in the opening frame, singled home Marissa Walker, who had drawn a base on balls.
It was all the offense Anderson would need.
Anderson will host second-ranked Scott County Thursday night. “We can't play like we did tonight and expect to be in the game with Scott County,” Glass said. “We are going to have to concentrate on the mental part of the game.”
The Lady Bearcats will play in the Madison Central tournament over the weekend and go to Louisville Male on Tuesday. A game with East Jessamine, originally set for Monday, has been canceled.
**Glass said Burkhead's back problems do not appear to be serious. Burkhead, who was hittting .549 coming in, had a hit and a walk in her only plate appearances Monday. Glass explained, “We were resting her. Any time we can, I try to rest her.”
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