EASTERN — The field wasn’t in the best condition due to rain earlier in the day, but Johnson Central pitcher Chloe VanHoose found her footing in the circle and led the Lady Golden Eagles to a 9-1 win over Pike Central to claim the 15th Region championship.
VanHoose gave up one run on five hits, while striking out 12 Pike Central batters.
What about the offense?
Abby Fannin and the rest of the Lady Golden Eagles took care of business at the plate.
Fannin went three for four with a homer, a double and three RBIs to lead Johnson Central at the plate.
Johnson Central got going in the top of the first. Alyssa Hedrick drew a walk with two outs. Fannin followed with an RBI double to give the Lady Golden Eagles an 1-0 lead.
The Lady Golden Eagles kept things going in the top of the second. Katelyn Fitch led off the inning with a double off the center field wall. After a sacrifice bunt, Chloe Lafferty followed with an RBI single. Claire Gamble followed with a bunt single. Alaina Castle added an RBI single to push the lead to 3-0.
VanHoose stepped to the plate and helped her own cause with an RBI single to push the lead to 4-0. Hedrick added a sacrifice fly RBI to push the lead to 5-0. Fannin added an RBI single as the Lady Golden Eagles’ lead grew to 6-0 going into the bottom of the second.
Johnson Central added another run in the top of the third as Castle hit an RBI single to push the lead to 7-0.
In the bottom of the third, Pike Central scored its only run of the game. Skylar Stumbo hit a bunt single to get on. Sydnee Lowe followed with a walk. Kayleigh Thomas reached on an error to score Stumbo and cut the lead to 7-1.
In the top of the fourth, Fannin hit a solo home run to push the lead to 8-1.
Castle also went three for four with a double and two RBIs for the Lady Golden Eagles. Lafferty added a pair of hits for the Lady Golden Eagles.
Stumbo lead the way for Pike Central at the plate going three for four and scoring the Lady Hawks’ only run. Bailey Birchfield and Abby Huffman also got hits for the Lady Hawks.
Thomas suffered the loss for the Lady Hawks.
Pike Central finished the season with an 18-20 record, the 60th District championship and their only trip to the 15th Region championship game in school history.
Johnson Central (24-15) advances to the KHSAA Fast Pitch Softball State Tournament Semi-State 8 Saturday against Ashland at Kentucky Christian University.
Johnson Central 2,
Johnson Central recorded a shutout win in the semifinals of the 15th Region Softball Tournament at Floyd Central High School on Tuesday night, blanking defending champion Pikeville 2-0.
With the win, Johnson Central upped its record to 23-15 and advanced to the 15th Region title game.
Following the loss, Pikeville ended its season 26-12.
Sophomore pitcher Chloe Vanhoose earned the victory in the circle for the Lady Eagles. Vanhoose allowed two hits and zero runs over seven innings, striking out 12 and walking one.
Emily Ford took the pitching loss for the Lady Panthers. Ford allowed six hits and two runs while striking out nine.
The Lady Eagles broke open a scoreless game in the top half of the sixth inning, plating a pair of runs to move ahead 2-0.
Johnson Central outhit Pikeville 6-2.
Jaden Bowling went 2-for-3 at the plate to lead Johnson Central in the hits column. Bowling drove in both of the Lady Eagles’ runs.
Contributing at the plate for Johnson Central, Alaina Castle, Alyssa Hedrick, Abby Fannin and Morgan Hopson added one hit apiece. Hedrick doubled for the Lady Eagles.
Randi DeLong and Kendal Hall paced Pikeville with one hit apiece.
Each 15th Region softball team committed one error.
Johnson Central recorded its second shutout in the 15th Region Softball Tournament. The Lady Eagles blanked Floyd Central 10-0 in an opening round game on Monday night.
Johnson Central moved on to meet Pike County Central in the 15th Region Softball Tournament title game.