From start to finish: Lions grab early lead, hold off Kittens for district win

Apr. 17—ASHLAND — During the Tri-State Showcase weekend, Boyd County coach Lance Seasor said he wanted his squad to learn how to not just get a lead but to hold onto it.

The Lions held on with a death grip Tuesday as they defeated Ashland, 4-2, in a contest that Boyd County led from start to finish.

"We're young but we're learning and you saw tonight the glimpses of what we can be," Seasor said. "We didn't particularly swing it well tonight, but we won despite that. We made things happen and had some outstanding pitching tonight. We're getting there."

The Kittens had more bright spots than not in the game, but stumbled out of the gate in the first frame and never could catch up from there.

"We started too late offensively," Ashland coach Scott Ingram said. "And even when we got going, we left runners on. and give (Elyn)Simpkins credit. She pitched a heck of a ball game. We just have to go earlier than we did tonight."

Kyli Kouns lit the fuse to start the Lions' in the top of the first inning.

Kouns drilled a double into center field to drive Jaycie Goad home for the first run of the game.

One pitch later, Savanna Henderson stole home on a passed ball to put Boyd County up 2-0 early.

Ashland put the Lions away in back-to-back 1-2-3 innings before getting a run back in the bottom of the third frame.

The run came when Aubrey McCreary got to the plate after a sacrifice fly from Jenna Delaney.

Boyd County took that run right back in the top of the fourth.

A standup double from Grace Stephens sent Myla Hamilton home to give the Lions a 3-1 advantage.

Boyd County got out of the bottom of the fourth with a 1-2-3 inning. The Lions had three such frames on the night.

"Elyn is a kid whose demeanor never gets too high or too low," Seasor said of his leader in the circle. "Our girls played good defense tonight. Even when they booted a ball or something, they didn't let it snowball. They moved on and got the game back on track."

Boyd County kept the momentum going into the top of the fifth frame.

Jadyn Goad opened the inning with a standup double. She advanced home on the next at-bat after an error off the bat of Simpkins.

Simpkins's swing sent the ball back to Ashland pitcher Addi Layne, but Layne could not make a play on the ball.

As Layne walked to collect the ball, Simpkins made it safely to first and Jaydn Goad simply trotted home to go up 4-1.

The Kittens inched closer again in the bottom of the fifth inning after a fielding error allowed Riley Harmon to score.

The Lions were poised to get at least another run in the top of the sixth following a double from Stephens.

A sprinting snag from right fielder Aubrey McCreary put a stop to Boyd County's plans, allowing Ashland to head to the bottom of the frame without adding to its 4-2 deficit.

"She's been making those all season," Ingram said. "Defensively we've been fantastic. Our outfielders have really been going after it."

Ashland had one last inning to take the win out of the hands of Boyd County.

The Kittens did their job in the top of the frame, turning away the Lions in three at-bats.

Ashland managed to get runners on first and third with Jenna Delaney coming to bat as the winning run.

Delaney sent a missile into left field, but it came just short of going over the fence and instead landed in the glove of Lacyn Black for the third and final out.

"We can win despite not doing everything perfect," Seasor said. "Addi Layne pitched a great game. She's a tough pitcher. As long as we keep our emotions in check, we can compete with anybody."

Ingram sees this as an opportunity for his players to grow.

"A lot of these kids haven't been in these moments," Ingram said. "Once we figure that out, and get them that experience, I like our chances. I like where we're at now and I think it's going to get even better from here."

BOYD CO. 200 110 0 — 4 5 2

ASHLAND 001 010 0 — 2 5 2

Simpkins and Kouns; Layne and Duckwyler. W — Simpkins. L — Layne. 2B — Kouns (BC), Stephens 2 (BC).