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Tilghman battles back, tops St. Mary

By James D. Horne jhorne@paducahsun.com

Paducah Tilghman knew it just had to stay on course and not panic against St. Mary, even after the Lady Vikings jumped out to a 4-0 lead after two innings in their Second District matchup at St. John's Field.

The Lady Blue Tornado finally got things going in the third and fourth innings and used the seven runs they scored during the two frames Tuesday evening to topple St. Mary 14-6.

After cutting the lead to 4-2 with two runs in the top of the third, Paducah Tilghman plated five runs in the top of the fourth and none were bigger than Emily Robertson's one-out, two-run double that scored the final two runs in the inning and put the Lady Blue Tornado ahead 7-4.

"Those runs were big, because this is an important district game," said Robertson, who went 3-for-4 with 2 RBI and two doubles. "We wanted to get ahead early, but didn't. But once we scored the runs it put less pressure on our pitcher and it was just big to win this game."

Those runs helped winning-pitcher Karlee Humphrey settle down, and she only allowed St. Mary to score single runs in the bottom of the fourth and the bottom of the seventh after that.

Paducah Tilghman (18-3, 2-0 2nd D) added three runs in the top of the fifth, one in the top of the sixth and three more in the top of the seventh to take the win.

"We haven't been very consistent scoring early, but we've been putting runs across every game and we knew that was just the first inning," said Humphrey, who was charged with six runs and eight hits and also struck out four. "We got off to a bad start, but knew we could come back from being four runs down. When we put together those string of hits it just killed their momentum and we were able to execute and produce when we needed to."

Lakyn Largent took the loss for St. Mary (7-13, 0-4 2nd D) and gave up 11 runs and nine hits over six innings with one strikeout. Rachel Denkins pitched one inning, the fifth and faced the first two batters in the sixth. Denkins allowed six hits and three runs to go with a strikeout in her inning of work.

Paducah Tilghman's victory sets it up for a two-game Second District showdown with top-ranked McCracken County (26-4, 2-0 2nd D) for the regular-season title.

The teams will play Thursday at 5:30 p.m. at McCracken County High School and then play a game that was rained out April 29, on Saturday at 11 a.m. at Tilghman's field.

"They're big ballgames," Tilghman coach Carl Johnson said. "They are ranked No. 1 in the state, and we're playing pretty loose. The pressure is on them. We'll be there and we'll be ready to play."

Tilghman goes into Thursday's game on a six-game winning streak, while McCracken County has won its last eight.

Paducah Tilghman 025 313 0 14 15 2

St. Mary 310 100 1 6 8 3

STM: Largent, Denkins (5), Largent (6) and M. Durbin ; PT: Humphrey and Tyler.

WP: Humphrey. LP: Largent

2B: STM - Gipson. PT -Robertson (2), Myers, Tyler, Morgan. 3B: STM - Lurtz. PT - none. HR: none. Top hitters: STM - Lurtz 3-4, 2 runs; Denkins 2-3; Gipson 2-4, RBI; M. Durbin 2-4. PT - Myers 3-4, 2 runs, 2 RBIs; Tyler 4-5, Run, RBI; Driver 3-5, 2 RBI; Robertson 3-4, 2 RBIs; Sexton 2-5, 2 runs; Morgan 3-4, 2 runs, 2 RBIs.

Call James D. Horne, a Sun sports writer, at 270-575-8661 or follow on Twitter @psunsports.

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