Daily Independent (Ashland, KY)

April 3, 2014

Rain showers interfere with Kitten Invitational

Rocky Stanley
The Independent

ASHLAND — The Kitten Spring Softball Invitational is off to a soggy start, and today’s forecast offers more of the same.

After Cabell Midland defeated Johnson Central 6-1 in Thursday’s afternoon opener, a lightning delay followed by showers wiped out the other three first-day games scheduled on the Ashland campus.

Ashland coach Dave Miller assembled a high-caliber field of seven teams from Kentucky and West Virginia for the three-day event, but wet weather is trying to steal the thunder.

“We are really excited about the group of teams we have coming in here,” Miller said. “It’s just that the weather has kind of put a damper on things. Hopefully we can give it a shot (today). Saturday should be clear, but I don’t know what it will be like between now and then.”

Along with 16th-ranked Ashland, Kentucky is represented by the 15th Region’s champion (Magoffin County) and runner-up (Johnson Central), as well as George Rogers Clark of the 10th Region. Meanwhile, Cabell Midland, Lincoln County and Wayne were among the top programs in their respective classes in West Virginia last season.

Lincoln County won’t be making an appearance now, since both of its games were rained out Thursday.

“That’s too bad,” Miller said. “I’ve been putting this together since last summer with these teams. “We got three or four of the best from Kentucky, and a Who’s Who list out of West Virginia. We’re all just hoping to get to play some ball.”

Four games are scheduled at Ashland’s field today, beginning at 1 p.m. with a matchup between the Kittens and Clark (4-1).

The bulk of Saturday’s slate will be played at the new Championship Fastpitch Athletic Complex, which has four fields. Miller also looks for Ashland’s home field to be incorporated into the schedule.

“We will have five fields at our disposal,” Miller said. “We’re going to do everything in our power to get as many games in as possible.”

Cabell Midland (4-2) used a strong pitching performance from senior Kyla Shull to defeat Johnson Central. Shull worked six hitless innings before Central came up with two singles in the seventh to push across its lone run.

“Kyla threw very well and finished the game,” Cabell Midland coach Jeanne Lunsford said. “We have not had a pitcher go all the way. It’s early in the season and we’re trying to get the endurance up. Kyla did a nice job of keeping them off-balance.”

Meanwhile, Jordan Colliflower went 4-for-4, including a double, to lead the Lady Knights’ 12-hit attack. Colliflower scored two runs and drove in another. Mandy King, who finished 2-for-3, and Erin Kaplan also doubled.

Cabell Midland, a regional finalist in 2013, scored single runs in the first, fourth and fifth innings, then tacked on three more in the sixth to pull away.

After being rained out against the host team Thursday, the Lady Knights are looking forward to getting back on the field in the Ashland Spring Invitational.

“We wanted to come over here, see different competition, and play a bunch of games,” Lunsford said. “It gives you a chance to see different styles. This is a nice facility.”

J. CENTRAL    000    000    1    —    1    2    2

C. MIDLAND    100    113    x    —    6    12    2

Hall and Withers; Shull and Koontz. W—Shull. L—Hall. 2B—Kaplan (CM), Colliflower (CM), King (CM).

ROCKY STANLEY can be reached at rstanley@dailyindependent.com or (606) 326-2671.