Pressure not only makes diamonds, pressure makes diamond stars.
Scott County, ranked second in the state, applied pressure early and often Thursday night en route to a 10-2 district high school softball victory at Henry Clay.
Madison Mullin, Michal Luckett and Katie Stamper had three hits each as the Cardinals (27-1) won their 16th game in a row.
"One through nine, I was very pleased how well they made contact tonight," Coach Scott Walters said after his team banged out 16 hits. "I like our team. They've got a professional, business-like attitude when they come to practice. We talk about it every day: 'if we're not getting better, we're moving backwards.' "
Elaina Jouhsnon and winning pitcher Tiffany Wickline had two hits each for the Cards.
Henry Clay (10-7) was paced by Emily Miller and MacKenzie Claus with two hits each.
Miller, who cracked a solo homer over the left-field fence in the third inning, also came up big behind the plate by throwing out three would-be base-stealers.
"That's probably one of the best freshmen you're going to see in this region," Blue Devils Coach George Beard said. "She can play."
Scott County got all the runs it needed with a three-run second.
One run scored on an error, and Stamper blasted a two-run homer to straightaway center.
Claus rapped an RBI single in the bottom of the inning to make it 3-1, but Scott County blew the game open in the third.
The Cardinals sent 10 batters to the plate, scoring six runs on six hits, two errors and a walk.
The first two runs came home on errors. Wickline and Abby Lowry each singled in a run, and Mullin doubled in two more.
In all, Henry Clay made five errors behind pitchers Alexandra Cooper and Anna Hensley.
"We've got to field behind them," Beard said. "If you don't support your pitcher, runs are going to be scored. And that team there puts a lot of pressure on you."
Scott County added a run in the fifth inning on Mullin's RBI base hit.
"We've got some more things to work on. ... I thought we left three runs on third base with base-running mistakes," Walters said. "But I think the bats and the defense kind of carried us through that. Tiffany had a good game in the circle, too."
Wickline went the distance, giving up two runs on six hits, striking out five and walking one.
"That's a very, very good team," Beard said. "That team, by far, is the best team in this region."
Scott Co. 036 010 0—10 16 1
Henry Clay 011 000 0— 2 6 5
Wickline and Crowe; Cooper, Hensley (5) and Miller. HR—SC: Katie Stamper; HC: Emily Miller.
Records—Scott Co. 27-1, Henry Clay 10-7.
Mark Maloney: (859) 231-3229 Twitter: @MarkMaloneyHL Blog: markmaloney.bloginky.com