The Harrison County Fillies softball team took care of business on Monday afternoon, weathered a rain delay, and defeated St. Patrick in the first round of the eight-team 10th Region Tournament at Montgomery County High School.
Harrison County got another good pitching performance, this time from Ashley Coppage, who tossed a one-hit shutout with the Fillies winning 8-0.
Coppage allowed only a second inning single to Bracken County’s Morgan Wells. She retired the Polar Bears in order in five of the seven innings.
“Ashley pitched an excellent game and our defense was outstanding as well,” said HCHS Coach Christine Garnett. “Lucinda [Boyers] made two great plays in digging balls out of the dirt at first base. We played error-free ball and that’s what it’s going to take to be successful from here on out.”
Coppage, an eighth-grader, and freshman Tracey Hicks have split time on the mound for the Fillies this year, with senior Brittany Murphy also seeing some action on the hill.
Harrison County’s offense got started in the bottom of the first inning as junior shortstop Rachel Hatfield pounded a solo home run to stake the Fillies to a 1-0 lead.
“That was an excellent piece of hitting,” said Garnett of Hatfield’s homer. “I really didn’t think it was high enough to get over the fence, it was such a line drive.”
In the second inning, Harrison County added another run. Kaitlyn Shepherd and Lucinda Boyers had one-out singles with Shepherd scoring after a walk to Morgan Florence loaded the bases and a ground out by Michelle Carson drove her in.
“Both of those girls have been in a little bit of a slump,” said Garnett of Boyers and Shepherd. “Hopefully this will be a break-out kind of game for them. They are both excellent hitters, they just need a little confidence.”
Boyers doubled with one out in the fourth and moved to third on a single by Florence. Coppage and Hatfield both singled to add two more runs and make it 4-0.
The Fillies added three insurance runs in the fifth inning, thanks in part to a couple of Bracken County errors. Florence had a single that drove in a pair of runs to make it 7-0.
Harrison County scored its final run in the sixth inning. Charley Hatfield led off with a double and scored on another double by Shepherd.
“This game hopefully gives us a little momentum heading into the game with Montgomery County,” said Garnett. “We were focused and took care of business, hopefully that mentality will carry us through the rest of the tournament.”
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All four first-round games were completed on Monday, but Tuesday’s semi-final round was postponed by rain.
On Wednesday night, Harrison County was to play Montgomery County in the first semi-final game, with Clark County taking on Bracken County in the second semi-final.
Harrison County has the best overall record of all teams left in the regional tournament. They are 29-4 on the season and 14-2 against 10th Region teams. Those two losses came to Clark County, 11-2, early in the season and to Bourbon County, 8-4, on May 12.
Montgomery County is 26-9 on the season, but is undefeated against 10th Region foes with a 14-0 mark. The Lady Indians and Fillies did not play during the regular season. Last year, Montgomery County defeated the Fillies in the regional semi-finals, 11-0, and were knocked off in the title game by Clark County, 4-3.
Harrison County last made it to the 10th Region title game in 2002 where they were defeated by Bishop Brossart, 8-2. The Fillies have never won a 10th Region softball crown.
Montgomery County will be vying for its sixth straight date in the championship game. The Lady Indians have finished as runner-up for the last four years, after winning the title in back-to-back years in 2003 and 2004.
The championship game is slated for tomorrow night at 7:30.