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Lady Wolves' All 'A' Tourney run ends in finals
April 29, 2014By Brad Laux of 1016sports
Saturday, Apr. 12 -- So far it has been a banner year for Wolfe County High School sports.
The volleyball team not only won its first-ever volleyball match in its third season as a varsity club, but the Lady Wolves finished the year 14-12 and earned a trip to the 14th Region Tournament.
Long time boys’ basketball coach Robert Scott Creech and son of legendary Wolves’ head coach Bob Creech said this year’s team was one of the school’s most talented in his years around the program. Only a stacked 14th Region, which included four teams ranked among the state’s top 20, and three other squads that won at least 19 games this winter, kept the Wolves from reaching milestone heights.
And yet, the team which has boasted the most significant accomplishments to date has been Lady Wolves’ softball, which entered the weekend with a berth in its first-ever 14th Region All “A” Tournament championship game, and a 12-0 record – one of the last teams in the state to remain undefeated.
Coach Benny Campbell’s club advanced to Saturday’s title game after disposing of nemesis Hazard 3-1 on the road in last Tuesday’s quarterfinals and then unleashing its powerful offense on Lee County in a 25-13 home win the following day.
To make the setting even more grandiose, the finals were to take place on the Lady Wolves’ home field.
The only thing that stood in the way of Wolfe County capturing its first-ever regional All “A” softball title was six-time defending champion Jenkins, which also had put together an impressive 10-1 mark, including winning seven straight contests entering Saturday’s championship tilt.
The Lady Cavaliers had dominated All “A” softball in the region. In the 10 seasons in which the event has existed, Jenkins had posted scores of 24-0, 23-0 and 7-1 against the Lady Wolves in three previous tournament meetings.
With a berth to the state tournament in Owensboro on the line, Lady Wolves’ leadoff batter Hailey Patton began the game with a triple inside the right-field line. She scored during the next at bat when Kennedy Patrick’s fielder’s choice hit trickled toward pitcher Caitlynn Estevez. However, Patton was hurt on the play and left the game, and despite loading the bases with two outs later in the inning, the Lady Wolves struggled to capitalize on their momentum.
Jenkins took the lead in the bottom of the inning after Mercedes Boggs’ blast zoomed past right fielder Chalese Triplett and rolled all the way to the fence for a two-run inside-the-park homer.
The Lady Wolves took advantage of two walks to put runners on base in the second inning, but the pair was left stranded, and Jenkins piled on two more scores in the bottom of the frame, helped by a trio of Wolfe County errors.
The hosts again put runners on base in the third, but Haley Smith and Triplett ended the inning on second and first, respectively, after a ground out.
Senior pitcher Colby Creech retired the first Jenkins batter of the third inning, before Charity Niece singled to right field. However, Patton, who had returned to the game, gunned down Niece during her attempt to steal second base on the next play. Creech then sat down the third Lady Cavalier with a strikeout to end the frame.
However, the Lady Wolves could not find an answer to Estevez’ pitching and over the next two innings only reached base on a Kendra Willoughby walk in the fourth.
Conversely, Jenkins brought out its bats and led off the bottom of the fourth with three straight singles and eventually plated two more runs to bring the score to 6-1. The visitors kept the pressure on by pushing another two runners across home plate courtesy of a pair of singles in the fifth.
Brittany Ross singled up the middle with one out in the sixth to give the Lady Wolves a spark, but the hosts were unable to move her past first base by the end of the inning.
A pair of spectacular defensive plays in right field by Shelby Jessie saved two potential multi-base hits in the bottom of the sixth, and Creech and the rest of the Lady Wolves’ defense were able to keep Jenkins off the board.
With one last gasp, Patton led off the top of the seventh with a double to right-center field that ignited the Lady Wolves’ faithful. However, a potential rally was quashed two batters later when a double play ended the game.
Wolfe County collected three hits on the day, but eight errors led to five unearned runs. Taylor Johnson tallied three singles to lead the Lady Cavaliers. Lex Stambaugh finished 2-for-2 with a pair of RBI, while Melissa Bartley also added two hits to pace the visitors’ offense.
Estevez earned the victory in the circle with a complete-game effort. She did not allow an earned run and struck out 10, but yielded six walks. Creech suffered the loss after surrendering 11 hits in six innings. She finished with two strikeouts and walked just one batter.
See videos: Wolfe County coach Benny Campbell, Jenkins coach April Charles.