Logic would tell you that the Franklin County Lady Flyers have no business being as good as they are this spring on the softball diamond.
Coach Tracy Spickard’s team lost nearly everyone who played significant innings a year ago.
But here we are in the early stages of the 2012 season and the Lady Flyers find themselves at 8-3 coming off a 20-0 win over the Frankfort Panthers Thursday at Capitol View Park.
Franklin County is simply playing way beyond its years.
“Oh my goodness, we’ve robbed the cradle this year,” said Spickard. “But we are making improvements. That’s what we’re trying to focus on right now, just get a little bit better each day.
“We’re very young,” she said. “Our biggest challenge as we’ve started the season is just get these kids some varsity experience because we didn’t return any starters from last year, and we only had a select few who had any varsity experience coming into this season. So we’re working on making small improvements every day, and hopefully that will get us where we want to be at the end.”
Coach Angie Hutcherson’s Lady Panthers are really not bad, but they were simply overwhelmed by Franklin County.
It started with FCHS sophomore pitcher Kara Howard, who threw a one-hitter against Frankfort, striking out 10, with only one walk.
Frankfort’s lone hit was a bloop single by Hannah Davis with one out in the third inning. By then the Lady Flyers were already up 12-0, thanks to four runs in the first, five in the second and three more runs in the top half of the third.
“She has been pitching very well,” Spickard said of Howard. “We had our first district game the other day against Western Hills, and she threw a phenomenal game. And she had a one-hitter today. She’s starting to bear down and throw harder and hit her spots.”
“She is an excellent pitcher,” Hutcherson said of Howard. “She is the best control pitcher we’ve faced.”
Franklin County cranked out 13 hits, led by two triples and a single by leadoff batter Shelby Sanders. Sydney Wiard, Bree Banks, Macy Johnson and Tori Zeigler added two singles apiece, Hailey Boden hit a double and Howard added a single.
And, of course, there were RBIs galore for the winners.
Hutcherson tried both of her pitchers against Franklin County - Kayla Hortenbury and Renee Dunn - and both struggled with control.
The Lady Flyers added 10 walks to their 13-hit attack, and also took advantage of three FHS errors.
“Our pitchers have been very up and down,” Hutcherson said. “I guess it’s the youth. They have had control issues. They struggled against Woodford County and again today.
“But the biggest thing is we’re not hitting,” she added. “If we hit, then we can compete.”
Spickard, meanwhile, is pretty much just fine tuning another outstanding team, albeit one that may be slightly ahead on offense at this point.
“We’ve been hitting around .350 this year, which is very satisfactory,” Spickard said. “We’ve been hitting the ball hard, and executing.
“Defensively, we need to improve,” she added. “Mentally as much as anything else. We need to start focused and stay focused throughout the entire ballgame. But, again, we’re young. To be able to maintain that attention span and that intensity level and focus every pitch and not relax is something we’re still learning. It’s something we emphasize and push every day.”
Franklin County hosts a tournament this weekend. The Lady Flyers play Christian Academy of Louisville today at 5:30, and then play Conner at 9 a.m. Saturday and Graves County at 1:30 on Saturday.
Frankfort, 3-5, is in the All A Regional at Lexington Christian tonight at 7:30, against Richmond Model. If the Lady Panthers win that game, they will play Saturday at either 1:30 or 4:30.