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The Geers got the fourth-seeded John Hardin Lady Bulldogs in gear Monday evening, while Taylor Miller finally put away the fifth-seeded Fort Knox Lady Eagles.
Katlyn Geer picked up the complete-game win and helped herself by belting her first home run of the season, younger sister Paige Geer also had a solid day at the plate and Miller hit her first homer, too, as John Hardin pulled away for a 14-4 win in five innings in the 17th District Softball Tournament’s lone quarterfinal at Elizabethtown.
Katlyn Geer’s and Miller’s homers came on consecutive pitches in the bottom of the fifth. Up 12-4, Geer homered to right center before Miller homered to right. Miller’s ball ricocheted off the top of the fence’s yellow railing before landing under the scoreboard.
“I’ve never experienced that type of a great feeling,” said Miller, who was 0-for-1 with two walks and an RBI before her blast. “As I was rounding first, I was like, ‘Come on, get over.’ And I was so relieved when it did.”
John Hardin (7-18) was relieved one inning earlier. The Lady Bulldogs found themselves tied at 4-4 after the Lady Eagles (7-22) scored two runs thanks to a pair of errors on one play in the third inning.
“That showed the type of growth we’ve been able to make,” said veteran Fort Knox coach Rick Thompson. “But then our inexperience kicks in when we face some adversity and we just can’t get past it.”
That adversity came in the fourth inning, which was a little too late for the liking of John Hardin coach Deron Bell.
“Oh man, was I ever nervous,” said Bell, who was victorious in his postseason debut. “As long as you let a team stay in the game – it doesn’t matter who you’re playing – then that team is a dangerous team.”
John Hardin turned dangerous in the fourth.
Aided by one error, one hit batsman and three walks, John Hardin sent 13 batters to the plate in the inning and scored a run in eight consecutive plate appearances. Senior Brooke Barrow, who went 4-for-4 with three stolen bases, three runs scored and two RBIs, had the first and last hit of the inning.
“It was a nervous atmosphere there for a while, but once we started making outs (defensively) back-to-back, we settled offensively and started to play,” said Katlyn Geer, who went 2-for-4 with two RBIs and two runs scored. “That inning was a confidence booster. … We all came through in a timely matter, which is what we needed.”
Fort Knox finished with seven hits – all singles. Junior Heather Arthur had a two-run single to give Fort Knox a 2-0 lead in the top of the first, while eighth-grader Casey Doerer went 2-for-3. Junior Christina Rice was selected to the All-Tournament Team after going 2-for-2 with two runs scored and one RBI.
Paige Geer couldn’t match her older sister’s power, but she was still effective, scoring twice, driving in two and hitting three singles.
“Paige stepped up big time,” Bell said. “Being an eighth-grader in a game like this and going 3-for-3? You can’t ask for anything better than that.”
Here’s something that could be better: Beating top-seeded Central Hardin in tonight’s early semifinal at 5:30.
“Tomorrow we’re going in with nothing to lose and we’re going to play with all our heart and show Central what we’re made of,” said Katlyn Geer.
With ninth-ranked Central Hardin having a long winning streak against not only his squad, but the other three members of the district, Bell wants his team as relaxed and as loose as possible today.
“It’s Central Hardin. Their name speaks for itself and they’ve been an elite program for a while,” he said. “I want them to play to win, but I also want them to have fun and to try to put the pressure on Central Hardin.”
JOHN HARDIN 14, FORT KNOX 4
R H E
Fort Knox 202 00 4 7 4
John Hardin 220 82 1412 2
Taylor Stephenson and Ashlee Kohler. Katlyn Geer and Melodi Haught. WP: Geer. LP: Stephenson. HR: K. Geer (JH), Taylor Miller (JH).
Nathaniel Bryancan be reached at (270) 505-1758 or email@example.com.