OLIVE HILL —
East Carter’s Morgan Jacobs fired a pitch across the plate for strike three in the bottom of the seventh inning and jumped into the arms of first baseman Montana Fouts.
At last, East Carter finally returned to the top of the 62nd District mountain.
Tori Qualls hit a home run and Fouts hit a two-run base hit as the Lady Raiders secured its first 62nd District title since 2008, defeating rival West Carter 5-1 Tuesday night.
“It’s unbelievable,” said East Carter coach Derek Calhoun. “We don’t have one girl on this roster win a district tournament. It’s what we’ve worked hard for. We started back in November with conditioning and running to get better. This is what they worked for and it’s nice to have it.”
The Lady Comets had won the previous four district championships, with three of them coming against East in the title game.
But Tuesday night belonged to the Lady Raiders. They had timely hits, and they had solid pitching from Jacobs. She went all seven innings, giving up one run on five hits while striking out five batters.
“We’ve worked hard so many years and we’ve always been No. 2 in the district and tonight we showed that we can be No. 1,” Jacobs said.
The Lady Comets had opportunities to score runs, leaving six runners on base, including stranding the bases loaded in the bottom of the first.
“It was a pretty good game,” West Carter coach Greg Reynolds said. “It was pretty evenly matched but I think they wanted it more than us. And that comes from winning four of them and we took it for granted. They played well and they deserve it.”
With East Carter leading 3-0 in the top of the fifth, a storm rolled over Olive Hill, forcing an hour and 15-minute delay. But that did not slow down East as Fouts smacked a base hit to the left center field fence that gave the Lady Raiders some insurance.
West Carter (12-13) scored its only run in the seventh on a wild pitch.
It was especially sweet for East Carter senior Heather Withrow, who closes out her high school career with a district title.
“It is one of the best feelings in the world,” Withrow said. “I’ve been waiting my whole high school career to do this. It feels really good.”
East Carter (24-11) has now won seven straight heading into next week’s 16th Region Tournament which, conveniently for the Lady Raiders, will take place in Grayson.
“There is not going to be one easy game,” Calhoun said. “We’re looking forward to getting started. But we’ll celebrate this one tonight.”
EAST 021 000 2 — 5 6 0
WEST 000 000 1 — 1 5 4
WP: Jacobs, Wiler. LP: L. Reynolds, Adkins. HR: Qualls (EC)