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Pulaski's wild offensive explosion leads Lady Maroons to region semis

May 30—HARRODSBURG — Coming into the 12th Region softball tournament, the Pulaski County Lady Maroons had to be considered one of the favorite to win it all, what with their region-leading RPI and insane offensive stats. Through three innings, the team was in a defensive battle against the upset-minded Wayne County Lady Cards on Wednesday. However, the offense of the Maroons woke up in the bottom of the fourth, scoring an insane 13 runs before the game was closed out in the fifth, with Pulaski prevailing 14-0 due to the run rule.

Brooklyn Thomas was absolutely dealing on the mound heading into the postseason and continued that early on in the game, striking out the first two batters on six straight pitches. A single to left from freshman Kaitlyn West broke up the strikeout streak, but she would be left stranded after another strikeout from Thomas.

After the first two batters for the Maroons were down in order, Ryann Sowder got her team in the hit column with a double that landed in deep right-center field. Another double followed by Claire Hamilton, scoring the first run of the game, as she eventually made it to third after a play at the plate. A strikeout ended the frame, but the Maroons already had an early lead at 1-0.

Thomas continued a dominant start on the mound in the second, striking out three batters in a row to sit the Cards down in order. Pulaski couldn't muster much more, with three batters striking out, although Kynslie Crabtree was able to reach safely on a walk.

Again, Thomas struck out the side in the top of the third as she was already up to nine total strikeouts on the evening. Sowder was walked in the bottom of the inning and was able to make it into scoring position after stealing second on a wild pitch. Hamilton also walked to give Pulaski two base runners, but they were left stranded as it started to look like this was going to be a low-scoring game.

West had a lead-off triple in the top of the fourth that landed in deep center field, with the Cardinals threatening to tie up the game. However, Thomas regained her composure immediately on the mound and rung up the next three batters to get out of the jam. Thomas was up to 12 total strikeouts and showed no signs of slowing down.

The offense of the Lady Maroons truly awakened in the bottom of the fourth, and boy did it do so in a hurry. Rilee Ross was able to draw a walk, with two straight perfectly placed bunts resulting in singles from Crabtree and Maggie Gregory to load the bases up with no outs. Avery Davis stepped up to the plate and had a bloop single to shallow center to score the second run for her team. Thomas then found her rhythm at the plate with her first hit, a two-RBI single to deep center. The Maroons came close to making a mistake on the base path but all runners were safe, with Pulaski now holding a 4-0 lead.

A fielder's choice got the lead runner out on third, but Pulaski still had two base runners with one out. Sowder had her own RBI single, this one to center, to make the score 5-0. Another walk on Hamilton loaded up the bases once again, with Shelbie Sellers hitting a sacrifice fly to the outfield for another run, with Pulaski now extending their lead to 6-0. An RBI single to left from Ross brought the score to 7-0 as the Maroons had now batted around the order, but there were still plenty more runs to come.

Crabtree was able to reach safely on an error that scored the eighth run of the contest. Gregory was able to draw a walk to load the bases up once again, but it took just one swing of the bat to unload them. Davis had a massive hit to the wall in left field that just barely bounced back into the park, giving herself a three-RBI triple that brought the Maroon faithful in attendance to their feet. The score was now 11-0, but the scoring was still not done.

Thomas was back up to bat and she wasted little time extending the lead even further, as she smacked an RBI double to make the score 12-0. Bella Ellis was the final batter to make an impact in the frame, as she hit the ball seemingly to the moon for a two-run home run that easily cleared the wall in left-center. The next batter was soon out, but with Pulaski now in front 14-0, the end of the game was inevitable.

The first two batters in the top of the fifth quickly were out as the Lady Cards were down to their final out of their season. Thomas then ended the game the same way she began it, with a strikeout to give her team a 14-0 win in just five innings of action.

Davis led the way with four RBI's in the win for the Maroons, with Thomas adding three and Ellis adding two. Sowder, Ross, Hamilton and Sellers each had one RBI apiece. Thomas earned the victory on the mound, going all five innings while allowing just two hits with 13 strikeouts.

Pulaski improved to 29-6 with the win and they will face off against the defending 12th region champions, the East Jessamine Lady Jaguars, on Thursday in the regional semifinals.