Tanya Hall scores

Tanya Hall adds another run in the win over Menifee County. Rowan County won the semifinal game 15-0.

Danielle Jennings pitched five innings of no-hit softball and struck out seven batters as the Rowan County Lady Vikings took the necessary step to earn a bid to the 16th Region Tournament by winning their semifinal game of the 61st District Tournament on Monday in Morehead.

Tanya Hall led Rowan County at the plate by going 3-for-3 in the Lady Vikings’ 15-0 win over Menifee County. Fleming County defeated Bath County 5-1 in the other semifinal.

It was the first no-hitter of the season for Rowan County, but the team’s ninth shutout as the Lady Vikings continued their domination of district opponents.

“We played as a team,” said Hall. “When we play teams that aren’t that strong, we usually play down and not play as well as we can. We tend to play as good as the other team is. But, today we got it over with and let people who don’t get to play as much play. We worked hard together and got it over with quickly.”

Rowan County (25-9) capitalized on Menifee County errors early in the game. After Hall led off the game with an infield single, Amelia O’Hair and Amber Riddle reached on back-to-back errors. However, Hall was thrown out trying to reach third on the first error. Alicia Hamrick followed with a walk to load the bases and Katie Horton drove in O’Hair and Riddle with a single to left field.

The Lady Vikings did their greatest damage with an eight-run second inning. The first 10 Rowan County batters reached base safely. After the lead off runner was thrown out attempting to steal, Kaitlyn Muncy walked and Hall doubled to left field to drive her home. O’Hair followed with a run-scoring single to center field and Riddle notched a single to left field. Hamrick drove the pair in with a double just inside the left-field line. Claire Barhorst was hit by a pitch and Horton added a single. Hamrick scored on Horton’s single when the Lady Cat catcher dropped the ball after an apparent tag at home plate.

Stefanie Howard’s single to center field scored Barhorst and Laken DeHarte (running for Horton). Hall notched her second hit of the inning with an infield single and Howard was able to score on the play.

Jennings retired the Menifee County (10-7) lineup in order through the first two innings, before allowing a walk to Brittany Neace after a full count. It was the only base runner Jennings surrendered all game.

“We got good pitching (from Danielle),” said Rowan County head coach Larry Slone. “Any time you can get a shutout, you have to be pleased. That way you know that you are controlling the ball game.”

The Lady Vikings added a run in the third inning. Hamrick singled and eventually scored on an error.

Riddle hit a solo home run to left field in the fifth. Later in the inning, Rachael Burrows and Horton each reached base with two outs, and came home on Howard’s two-run single down the left-field line that capped off the scoring.

Rowan County finished with 13 hits, including three from Hall, and two each from Riddle, Hamrick, Horton and Howard. Erica Gregory also added a pinch-hit single. O’Hair also singled.

Howard finished with a team-best four RBI, while Horton and Hamrick each had two. Hall, O’Hair, Riddle each had one.

“Everybody got to play and everybody had fun,” said Hall.

Jennings went the distance to earn the win. Ashley Tincher took the loss for Menifee County, which had its seven-game win streak stopped. Tincher walked four, struck out three and hit a batter in five innings of work.

“Their pitching obviously is very slow and it was just a matter of us hitting the ball and we did. We stepped up and hit it,” said Slone. “We went out and scored some runs and controlled the ball game and won.”

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