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Lions bats come alive: Boyd County pitchers allow two hits to Devils

Mar. 23—RUSSELL — It took a few innings for Boyd County's bats to get productive, but it was worth the wait.

"I think we got some timely hits and made really big pitches when we needed to," Boyd County coach Lance Seasor said. "We know there's going to be a lot of growing pains this season, but when it counted, they really came through."

The Lions got runs in the fourth and fifth innings to take a close contest against Russell, 3-2, on Friday.

"Every day, we're just looking to find consistency," Russell coach Destiny Goins said. "We'll have a hot inning but then go high and low from there. We want to find a place where we stay on the high rather than dipping down every couple of innings."

While Boyd County had to wait to get rolling, it wasn't the case for the Red Devils.

Russell got on the board first in the bottom of the first frame after Lili Smith smashed a double off the Taco Brothers' sign on the centerfield wall that brought Paige Hutchison home.

The Lions avoided further damage, escaping the inning following a fly out to Elise Sparks with the bases loaded.

After a 1-2-3 inning in the top of the first, the Lions looked to be more productive in the second.

Savanna Henderson, who reached on a walk, managed to find her way to third base, but Audrey Patel dashed any hopes of a Boyd County score by striking out Maddison Badgett for the third out.

"Audrey has a way of staying dialed in even when things are going a little haywire," Goins said. "She keeps that poise about her and that's something super valuable for us."

Patel nearly added to the Russell lead in the bottom of the third, but another well-timed catch from Sparks in centerfield quelled that chance.

The Lions finally put some swings together in the top of the fourth inning.

Grace Stephens smashed a double in the leadoff spot and was brought home by a hit from Jaycee Goad.

After a pair of popouts, Myla Hamilton drilled a hit into right field that sent Goad to plate.

Elyn Simpkins replaced Brooke Jacobs in the circle for the Lions to start the top of the fourth.

"Our pitchers are young but they're really talented," Seasor said. "I expect them to continue to develop as the season goes. If they start doing it now, the season will go well."

Simpkins struck two out in her first frame and Russell was again turned away without a run.

The Lions hung another run to start the fifth frame with a sacrifice fly from Sparks that scored Jadyn Goad.

Smith tried to get Russell's offense back in motion with another double in the leadoff spot but was ultimately stranded at third.

The Lions looked poised to add more runs in the sixth inning, with runners on second and third with just one out, but Patel pitched the Red Devils out of the jam.

Trailing 3-1, Russell had one last chance in the bottom of the seventh to try replicating some of the first inning's success.

Paige Hutchinson attempted to get the rally started with a standup double.

Hutchinson stole third, before taking home after a wild pitch.

Unfortunately for the Red Devils, it was all they could muster.

"I hope they realize we need to find some consistency," Goins said. "We can't be up and down through the lineup. We have to learn how to adjust at the plate. I hope we learn to do that."

Boyd County got the final out on a grounder to first for the win.

"I hope their takeaway is that they can be as good as they want to be," Seasor said. "We've made some mental errors in our early games, but we were better tonight. We want to keep getting better today than we were yesterday."

Boyd County fell to Rowan County on Thursday after the Vikings put up five runs in the fifth inning in Morehead.

Henderson and Hamilton produced doubles for the Lions. Hamilton was 2 of 3 at the plate. Kassie Perkins picked up the win in the circle and collected three hits.

BOYD CO. 000 210 0 — 3 5 3

RUSSELL 100 000 1 — 2 2 2

Jacobs, Simpkins (4) and Kouns; Patel and Highfield. W — Simpkins. L — Patel. 2B — Smith 2 (R), Stephens (BC), Hutchinson (R).

BOYD CO. 011 020 0 — 4 6 3

ROWAN CO. 200 510 X — 8 8 2

Black, Simpkins (5), Jacobs (6) and Kouns; Perkins and Eastham. W—Perkins. L—Black. 2B—Henderson (BC), Hamilton (BC), Perkins (RC). 3B—Walker (RC).

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