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WARSAW – A big first inning paved the way for an Oldham County first round win Monday.
The Lady Colonels broke out of the gate with four runs and held on to beat Collins 7-4 in the first game of the Region 8 tournament at Gallatin County.
OC will meet the winner of Monday's Gallatin County vs. Grant County game at 6 p.m. Tuesday.
“The main thing was hitting,” OC coach Steve Leanhart said. “That's our team.
“Whether they're hitting or they're not hitting it's like the whole team. They come out, score four runs off the bat in the first inning and that kind of shut (Collins) down a little bit.”
After sophomore Kirsten Smith worked out of a bases-loaded, one-out jam in the top of the first, freshman center-fielder Payton Hamm led off the Lady Colonel first with a walk.
Senior shortstop Ryne Shelton bunted Hamm to second and was safe at first thanks to the first of the Lady Titans' five errors. Senior third baseman KK Rigdon was called out on a batter's interference call, but freshman first baseman Delaney Sowell came up with a single to load the bases for Smith, the OC pitcher.
Smith knocked a single to center, scoring Hamm and Shelton and giving the Lady Colonels a 2-0 lead. Sowell scored from third one batter later, beating a play at the plate on a bunt single from sophomore catcher Whitney Leanhart.
Smith made the OC lead 4-0 scoring from third on a single hit by eighth-grade second baseman Taylor Sheller.
“You kind of shut the other team down when you do that,” Hamm said of OC's four-run first. “Then you feed off it and keep going.”
Smith pitched scoreless second, third and fourth innings despite allowing baserunners to reach in every frame. OC added an insurance run in the bottom of the fourth, as Sowell smashed am RBI double off the right-field wall. That hit scored Rigdon, making the Lady Colonel lead 5-0.
Collins finally got on the board in the fifth. Sydney Cloyd followed a one-out walk to Danaria Lewis with a two-run home run over the center-field wall to cut the Lady Titan deficit to 5-2.
OC responded in the bottom of the frame. Senior right-fielder Briana Cook scored on an error to make the lead 6-2. Hamm then drove freshman pinch hitter Britney Ryan home with a double, pushing the lead back to five runs at 7-2.
“It was an inside pitch and I was sitting on an inside pitch and it finally came,” Hamm said. “I jumped on it.”
Smith allowed Collins to score two more runs in the sixth, but the margin proved to big for the Lady Titans to overcome.
“It's our first regional game for a lot of these girls,” Leanhart said. “Half these girls have never been in the region (tournament). So they're pumped and they're fired up about it.”
Collins (18-20) – 0 0 0 0 2 2 0 – 4 9 5
Oldham County (22-11) – 4 0 0 1 2 0 x – 7 11 0