Photos by Larry Robinson
Bluegrass Sports Nation
Top left, catcher Sarah Wiseman and Pitcher Kaylee Covey share an embrace after winning the game as Coach Danny Wood punctuates with a fist pump; top right, Tayler Duechle about to make contact with the ball; and below, seniors hold aloft the14th Region Trophy. From left to right are Sarah Wiseman, Kaylee Covey, Lindsey Isfort, and Lindsey Wood.
By LINDSEY WOOD
The Estill County High School softball team defeated Perry Central to win their eleventh fourteenth region championship. After defeating Letcher Central 5-2 and Wolfe County 7-0, the Engineers were able to keep the train rolling and smack down Perry 7-1. This region victory was much appreciated considering last year’s surprise defeat in the first round of the regional tournament.
Throughout the post-season, the Lady Engineers have made a habit of keeping their bats quiet in the beginning of the game only to put up huge numbers in the final innings; Estill’s victory against Wolfe County fit this bill perfectly. Through the first three innings, both teams remained scoreless. In the fourth, Estill finally got on the board with one run. They added two more the next inning and finished off with a four-run inning in the sixth, scoring seven total runs.
Offensive contributors this game included Kaylee Riddell, Sarah Wiseman, Taylor Duechle, Kaylee Covey, and Lindsey Wood; they each had two hits for the night. Duechle and Wiseman did their job of driving in runs, both having two RBI’s this game.
On the mound, Kaylee Covey grabbed an impressive one-hit, shut-out win over the Wolves. She blew the Wolfe County lineup away, racking up a phenomenal 13 strikeouts! With her speed and location accuracy, she was able to make light work out of Wolfe’s already weak batters.
With this win in the books, the Lady Engineers looked to take on Perry Central, who made a comeback victory against a young, scrappy Jackson City team. Estill head coach, Shirley Beard, had one request of her team this game: get started early. Coach Beard wanted no question of who was going to win this game; she did not want to give Perry the idea that they even stood a chance.
Her team took her directions to heart. Lead-off batter Wood started the game with a base hit and the rest of the lineup followed suit. The Engineers scored four runs this inning, taking the wind out of Perry’s sails. Estill did not put hits together again until the fifth inning, in which they rallied to score three more. Wiseman and Sparks led the offense this game, with two hits a piece; Wiseman had one RBI and Sparks two.
Once again, Covey dominated on the mound. Her only hiccup was in the third inning when she allowed a solo shot home run. Aside from this, Covey had eight strikeouts and zero walks. Even when Perry put the ball in play, Covey was cool and collected and got her team out of the inning.
Following this victory, the team was presented their regional championship trophy and several Estill players were named to the all-tournament team including Wiseman, Wood, Riddell, and Covey. Covey was crowned MVP for her stellar performance on the mound; throughout the tournament, she gave up just three runs and struck out 36 total batters.
Now, the Lady Engineers are headed once again to Owensboro to the state softball tournament. They are set to take on the twelfth region champions, Boyle County, at 7:00 p.m. on Thursday, June 7th. The last time these teams met, Boyle beat Estill 11-1. However, all softball fans know that anything can happen, especially in the post-season. The Lady Engineers have been practicing hard in the days before they leave for the tournament; hopefully, they can bring back a win.