BY MATTHEW SPARKS
FOR THE DAILY INDEPENDENT
VANCEBURG Late in its district battle with Greenup County, Raceland had to use its “Mo-jo.”
Morgan Curley belted the deciding run with a leadoff homer in the home half of the sixth inning. The senior catcher has had a penchant for driving in runs this year. Her 68th RBI proved to be the biggest of the season as the Lady Rams prevailed, 2-1, in the 63rd District Tournament semifinals on Monday night.
“I didn’t feel I needed to step up and do anything,” Curley said. “I was just trying to produce more baserunners. When we get more baserunners, we are going to capitalize on errors and hits. That’s all I was looking for, but she just left that one over the plate.”
Lady Rams coach Shawn Johnson expected the Lady Musketeers to be a tough out even after Raceland won the two regular- season matchups by a combined 28-9.
“We had a bunch of opportunities,” Johnson said. “We hit it right at (Aleeya) Adkins in the second inning. She jumps up and makes a catch. That kid can play. Kierston Smith, man, she pitched her rear end off. She went out there and challenged them. The defense was solid behind her. She didn’t look like a kid that missed three weeks with a sprained ankle.”
Raceland plated the first run of the contest in its opening at-bat. Curley doubled and eventually came home on Chloe Collins’ RBI single.
The Lady Musketeers responded in the second. Becca Brown screamed a triple down the third-base line allowing Hannah Hunt to come home with the tying run.
Greenup County pitcher Mykenzie Crosier and Smith each kept the hitters in check for much of the game. Smith allowed just two hits and Crosier held the Lady Rams, who average over 10 runs a game, to just two.
“Mykenzie has been pitching better the last half of the season,” Greenup County coach Eric Keeton said. “I couldn’t ask any more out of her. Raceland is a good hitting team. This was a great high school softball game. We just came out on the wrong end.”
Raceland (26-9) collected eight hits, including three in the sixth inning. Curley extended her hit streak to 24 games and homered for the fourth straight time against Greenup County (16-15).
“Mo Curley came up big,” Johnson said. “Everyone will be talking about what a great hit that was, but we expect that. We she came up, I expected her to hit it in the leftcenter- field gap. She hit it well. When it came off the bat, I just told her to touch them all.”
GREENUPCO. 010000 0—1 2 0 RACELAND 100001 x—28 1 Crosier and Imel. Smith and Curley. W—Smith. L—Crosier. 2B—Adkins (GC), Curley (R). 3B—Brown (GC). HR—Curley (R).
Russell 5, Lewis Co. 4
Makayla Fraley sent Russell back to the 16th Region Tournament with a walk-off two-run double to lift the Lady Devils past Lewis County.
The Lady Lions took its first lead in the top of the seventh inning on a Russell error, a ground out and an RBI single by Lexie Sizemore.
Raceland vs. Russell, 6 p.m.
Russell answered quickly as Lexy Roark singled to start the rally. A Lewis County error allowed Grace Osborn to reach base.
Two batters later, Fraley sent a liner to right field that landed below the glove of the charging fielder and bounced all the way to the wall. Osborn sprinted around third and touched home plate to ignite the celebration.
Lightning was spotted, forcing a weather delay, to begin the third inning. The contest remained scoreless until the fifth. Ali Hartman made it to second base on a Lady Lions miscue. She stole third and scored on Krissy Hall’s RBI single.
Lewis County (15-16) got even in the sixth before Russell sprang ahead again in the home half of the inning.
Madison Darnell plated a run with a double. She was knocked in by Haven Layne’s triple.
Russell (19-8) will meet Raceland in the district championship Wednesday night at Lewis County at 6.