By LINDSEY WOOD
The Estill County High School softball team won the 56th district championship, defeating Powell County 12-2. Following this victory, the team advanced to the 14th region tournament semifinals after defeating Letcher County Central 5-2. Coming up, the Lady Engineers face Wolfe County to compete for a spot in the championship game.
After beating Owsley, Estill battled the Powell County Pirates for the 56th district title. The Engineers remained tied 0-0 with the Pirates until the third inning, when the Engineers finally got on the board with an RBI single by senior lead-off Lindsey Wood. Estill would cap off the inning with another run. They racked up two more in the fifth, but Powell answered this with two runs of their own in the top of the sixth. The Lady Engineers were able to halt Powell’s momentum with a heads-up play: throwing out Mckayla Ruccer at second after she batted in those runs. In the bottom of this inning, Estill opened the flood gates, finishing off the Pirates 12-2.
To be such a high scoring game, the Engineers had relatively few hits. In fact, Estill had the same amount of hits as Powell: six. Seniors Wood, Sarah Wiseman, and Lindsey Isfort led the offense this game. Wood went for two-for-two with two walks; she reached base every at-bat in the tournament. Wiseman had a big night, driving in three runs with two hits (one being a double). Isfort contributed with with an RBI hit and a walk. Errors and walks really costed the Pirates this game. Chloe Billings walked 10 batters and the Powell County defense committed five errors.
On the mound for the Engineers, Kaylee Covey threw an outstanding game; she had nine strikeouts and did not give up a single walk.
After the game, Covey, Wood, Wiseman, Isfort, and Kaylee Riddell were named to the all-tournament team. Covey was dubbed MVP for her dominant pitching, which kept the Owls and Pirates from having any real offensive success. Wood received the J. L. Thomas Award for her performance at the plate and sportsmanship.
With their 14th straight district championship won, Estill headed into regional play. The Lady Engineers faced the 53rd district losers, the Letcher County Cougars. As in their game against Powell, the Engineers had a slow offensive start, going scoreless for two innings. Isfort got things going in the third with an RBI fielder’s choice. Taylor Duechle had an amazing night, going three-for-three and being the Engineers’ offensive spark plug. Led by Duechle, the Engineers rallied to score four runs in the fifth. Letcher scored two runs the next inning, but it was too little, too late for the Cougars.
Along with Duechle, Wood and Isfort had good nights at the plate against the Bobcats. Wood went two-for-three with a double; Isfort went one-for-two with an RBI.
Covey pitched another impressive game, striking out 15 Letcher County batters! Again, she did not give up a single walk.
In their next game, the Engineers face the Wolfe County Wolves on Tuesday, May 29th, at home at 6:00 p.m. Wolfe defeated Estill earlier in the season in a sluggish game for the Engineers. Hopefully, Estill has learned their lesson about taking region competition lightly and will come ready to play. The championship game was set to be 6 p.m. on Wednesday, May 30th, at home.
Photos by Larry Robinson, Bluegrass Sports Nation