Campbell County High School’s softball team swept neighboring rival Cumberland Gap last week for the second consecutive year.
In both instances, it was the first two victories of the season for the Lady Cougars, who are 2-16 overall heading into games this week against Oak Ridge and Claiborne County.
“Last year, (the sweep) came at the end of the season instead of in the middle, so we hope there are a few more wins for us this year,” said Campbell County coach Rebecca Mongar.
“In a lot of areas, we’ve made improvement. We’ve still got a long way to go. We’ve got a lot of young girls. Our infield is made up of older girls, while our outfield is a bit younger. Our juniors and seniors have really stepped up.
“We’ve got a lot of positives.”
This season had been a struggle for the Lady Cougars until Friday’s series with Cumberland Gap. With a big home crowd cheering on, Campbell County run-ruled the Lady Panthers 14-3 in the first game and squeaked out a 5-2 win in the nightcap.
Sophomore Alex Hempsall pitched both five-inning games for the Lady Cougars. She struck out 9 batters in the first game and 3 in the second.
Campbell County played both games without senior catcher Lyndsi Tomblin, who fractured an elbow earlier last week while running down a Clinton base runner.
Courtney Morris smacked a 2-run double and stole home plate to lead the Lady Cougars out to a 4-0 start in the first game. Cumberland Gap answered with a pair of runs in the top of the third inning to cut that in half, 4-2.
Hempsall and Kendra Critchett walked in runs with the bases loaded in the bottom of the third. Then Hempsall stole home for a 7-2 Campbell County lead.
The Lady Panthers got one more run in that top of the fourth inning to make it 7-3.
Campbell County put the game out of reach by scoring seven runs in the bottom of the fourth. All seven runs came on two outs, and more than once the bases were loaded.
Hempsall, Critchett, Megan Byrge, Morris and Mary Hickman each drove in a run during the inning. Hempsall and Hickman also stole home. Morris got her RBI with a double for what turned out to be the final margin.
In the nightcap, Hickman drilled an RBI triple. Kelsey Allen had a double and two singles, while Hempsall had a double and a single; Byrge had two singles; and Critchett, Morris and Katie Ridenour each had a single.
The Lady Cougars dropped a 7-2 decision on Monday of this week at Scott County.
Campbell County trailed by two runs, 3-1, going to the bottom of the sixth inning. In the top of the sixth, the Lady Cougars lost Hickman, who turned an ankle while rounding the bases.
Hempsall was tagged with the loss. Sarah Holloway drove in both of Campbell County’s runs.