Fern Creek tops host

Published 12:17 am Friday, August 5, 2011

ANDALUSIA — South Alabama suffered a 12-2 loss to Fern Creek, Ky. Thursday night in its first game of the 2011 Babe Ruth 12U Softball World Series at the Andalusia Sports Complex.

Fern Creek jumped out on the host team early in the contest, scoring three runs in the first inning.

Then, added four runs in the second inning and three runs in the third inning to take an out right 10-2 lead.

South Alabama coach Candace Tucker said the team was a bit nervous playing in front of the “big crowd” and she hopes the team can put this first loss behind them.

“They jumped on us early,” Tucker said. “We couldn’t ever get anything going with our bats.

“Playing in front of the big home crowd — that’s not easy, but it was nice having every body here,” she said.

South Alabama scored its only runs in the third inning.

Fern Creek coach Rusty Leonhardt said the three runs scored in the first inning were “big” for his team.

“It was a big key,” Leonhardt said. “The key was we got runners on second and third with nobody out. Then, we had two outs. Had we not had done anything, that would’ve been a huge momentum swing for them.

“It was crucial getting the first two runners on and scoring at that point,” he said.

When asked how his team managed a 7-0 lead, Leonhardt said his players started to hit the ball.

“We made contact, and we made them make some plays,” he said. “It was a pretty good effort.

“(South Alabama) hits the ball pretty well,” he said. “They’re good. They really hit the ball well.”

Today, Fern Creek will face Alex City today at 10:30 a.m. on Field No. 2, and then will play Franklin, La. at 7:30 p.m. on Field No. 1 during the night games.

Leonhardt said the key in today’s pool play is staying “focused.”

“We’re just going to keep going,” he said. “We play another Alabama team tomorrow, so we’ve got to come back. I told them they did a good job of staying focused. They’ve got to stay focused and come out ready to play.”

South Alabama will play Franklin at 10:30 a.m. today on Field No. 3 in the morning, and against Mineral Area, Mo. at 7:30 p.m. on Field No. 2 in the night game.