Franklin County couldn’t have started district play any better.
Senior Kara Howard struck out eight, freshman Chandler Kelly had five runs batted in, and FCHS rolled to a 15-0 win in three innings over Frankfort in the 41st District opener Tuesday night at Sally Gaines Field.
“We’ve really tried to harp on how critical and important those district regular-season games are as far as setting the tone and putting yourself in good position going into the postseason,” into the postseason,” FCHS coach Tracy Spickard said. “So it was important for us to get out of the gate strong and show up ready to play and I felt like we did that.”
The Lady Flyers (5-0-1, 1-0) scored seven runs in the first, as 12 batters went to the plate with six of them recording hits. They added five more in the second before ending the game with three in the third.
“Overall, very pleased with the effort, but we certainly can’t be satisfied,” Spickard said. “We have a tough road ahead.”
The Lady Panthers (1-4, 0-1) have had a tough road to start the season, not fairing well in games against much bigger schools.
“We’re going to play more Class A teams and we’ll get our victories,” FHS coach Angie Hutcherson said. “We just need to hit a little better, but our pitching has been very good up to this point.
Pitching was great for FCHS Tuesday night, as Howard faced only nine batters and allowed only one to put the ball in play. She struck out the first eight before freshman Katelyn Hershey grounded out.
“She had an excellent game on the mound and was hitting her spots well and worked hard to get ahead in the count,” Spickard said.
And Howard got plenty of run support, too. The Lady Flyers amassed 15 hits with Kelly’s 3-for-3 performance leading the way. She hit a two-run triple in the first and a three-run double in the second before adding a single in the third.
Seniors Tori Zeigler and Whitney Edwards and junior Kiana Butler joined Kelly with multiple hits. Zeigler had a triple, double, single and three RBIs, Edwards hit two singles and drove in two runs and Butler added two bunt singles and an RBI. Junior Lindsey Axon had a single and two RBIs, while senior Alyssa Gaines hit an RBI single.
“We hit the ball well and were disciplined at the plate,” Spickard said. “One of our focal points recently has been pitch selection and I felt like we did a super job in the box today of making sure that we’re cutting at strikes and getting ourselves the opportunities to hit the line drives.”
Senior Rachel Palmgren gave up 11 runs and nine hits in one inning for FHS. She also recorded her first walks of the season.
“Our attitudes weren’t as positive as they could’ve been. We came out here heads a little down, playing County a little bit intimidated,” Hutcherson said. “Kara is an awesome pitcher and we were a little intimidated by her pitches just coming out. We weren’t aggressive with our bats ... watched too many pitches.
“I wasn’t too disappointed with our defense, we just didn’t hit enough.”
FCHS is at Paul Laurence Dunbar today at 6 p.m. FHS is at WHHS Thursday at 5:30 p.m.
Too see more photos from the game, click here.