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Courtney Johnson was locked in Thursday night against the Elizabethtown Lady Panthers.
The LaRue County senior third baseman hit a three-run home run and a two-run single as the visiting Lady Hawks held off Elizabethtown, 6-4.
Johnson homered in the first inning, crushing a pitch to left-center field, and then drove in two more runs in the sixth to provide LaRue County (5-2) with enough cushion.
“Courtney was a one-man wrecking crew tonight,” Lady Hawks coach Aaron Howell said. “I was proud of her at-bats. I thought she worked the count well and got the pitches she wanted, and made the most of it.”
LaRue County, though, almost let the lead slip away.
The Lady Panthers (2-1) scored once in the fifth as freshman Nicole Blackstone drew a bases-loaded walk. Elizabethtown stranded the bases loaded as LaRue County senior Brigitte Skaggs ended the inning with a strikeout.
After Johnson delivered with two outs in the top of the sixth, the Lady Panthers pulled within 6-4 in the bottom half of the inning.
Freshman Taylor Thomas had a run-scoring single and Thomas and senior Brianna Taylor scored on an error, but LaRue County junior Emillee Cundiff induced a grounder to get out of the jam.
“It’s early and you’re going to make mistakes,” Howell said of the error. “The key is I want us to be peaking by the end of the year. And as long as we learn from our mistakes, I can accept those.”
Skaggs struck out seven and gave up five hits, four walks and three runs in 5 1/3 innings. LaRue County won for the fourth time in five games.
Howell said it took his team a while to adjust to the windy conditions, with the wind blowing in from right field to left.
“It was a weird game with the wind, and it really affected us – especially with balls hit to the outfield,” he said. “There were a lot of hard-hit balls tonight, but a win’s a win and we’ll take it.”
Blackstone had four strikeouts and gave up eight hits, six runs and four walks.
LARUE COUNTY 6, ELIZABETHTOWN 4
R H E
LaRue County 310 002 0 6 8 2
Elizabethtown 000 013 0 4 6 1
Brigitte Skaggs, Emillee Cundiff (5) and Sierra Mullins. Nicole Blackstone and Brooke Chancey. WP: Skaggs. LP: Blackstone. 2B: Delany Eastridge (LC). HR: Courtney Johnson (LC).
UP NEXT: LaRue County hosts Thomas Nelson at 5:30 p.m. April 7. Elizabethtown hosts Green County at 5:30 p.m. today.
Josh Claywell can be reached at 270-505-1752 or email@example.com.