LANGLEY At full strength and with a sure-handed pitcher, Johnson Central has proven to be a dangerous team.
The Lady Eagles cruised past Pike County Central, 9-1, on Wednesday at Floyd Central High School to capture the 15th Region softball title.
Chloe VanHoose dealt all 33 innings of the postseason. She finally gave up a run on Wednesday after hurling four consecutive shutouts.
“She’s got a lot of confidence in all of her pitches,” said Johnson Central coach Joey Estep. “She has been able to get ahead of batters. Tonight, she really didn’t as much, but she still battled through every pitch and is throwing with confidence.”
The sophomore gave up five hits, surrendered two walks and struck out 12. She didn’t deliver a pitch until after enduring an hour-plus delay on Wednesday. Estep said the Lady Eagles responded well to the wet conditions in Langley.
Catcher Morgan Hopson and third baseman Abby Fannin missed a good chunk of time this season due to leg injuries. Hopson returned in late April. Fannin’s first game back was on May 9 against East Carter. Johnson Central fell to the Lady Raiders, 5-4, in eight innings that night, but the Lady Eagles haven’t lost since.
Fannin went 3 for 4 with three RBIs against Pike Central. Alaina Castle was 3 for 4 with two runs and two RBIs. The Lady Eagles packed five runs into the seconds frame.
“This is a goal we set out, to be region champs,” Estep said. “We felt like we had the team to do it. We faced our struggles early, but we finally got everybody healthy and were able to get on a roll here lately.”
Johnson Central (24-15) will carry a 10-game winning streak into Semi-State 8 on Saturday at Kentucky Christian University’s home field in Coalton. The Lady Eagles will face Ashland. The Kittens jumped all over Raceland, 12-0, to win the 16th Region title on Tuesday.