FRANKFORT — Hold the rope.
That's the rallying cry for Scott County's softball team, which outlasted Madison Southern 9-6 Monday in the opening round of the 11th Region Tournament at Lakeview Park.
Scott Walters, coach of the Cards, said "hold the rope" comes from a poem that is used to inspire his daughter's college ROTC class. If you're hanging off the side of a cliff by a rope, who do you want holding the other end?
Monday would have been a good day to pick a Cardinal.
Scott County (31-4) was, figuratively, hanging over the edge of a cliff when Madison Southern bolted to a 3-0 lead.
The Eagles got an RBI single by Amber Sparks in the first inning, plus a two-run base hit by Paige King in the fourth.
"They always play us tough. They're a good team," Walters said. "When they had runners in scoring position, they took the balls, put them right where we weren't."
The Cardinals answered the bell in the bottom of the fourth, capitalizing on three Southern errors to score four runs.
"I think it really (brought) the team together," Elaina Johnson said of Scott's early deficit. "We all stood up and needed to get a hit, and we all just rallied off of one another. It was good and bad at the same time, but we did it."
A two-base error and a Marlee Tevis double put the Cardinals on the board.
Jordan Franchino singled in a second run and advanced on a pair of errors. Johnson singled in the third and fourth runs of the inning.
"You never know what's going to happen in the end but you just try to play to your best potential," Johnson said. "As long as your teammates (are) behind you, we have a saying 'hold the rope.' As long as your teammates are behind you, then you're OK. You're destined to do good."
Southern (20-11) tied when Briana Lanham led off the fifth inning with a homer to left field.
Scott began to pull away with three runs in the fifth and two in the sixth.
Katie Stamper's sacrifice fly and Johnson's two-run single accounted for the scoring in the fifth.
An error allowed one run home in the sixth, and another came in on Michal Luckett's base hit.
"As long as we're playing our game, we can get those hits all the time," Luckett said. "We've been hitting all year. But I guess we got in our heads just a little bit. But as soon as we got out there and relaxed, we just played our game."
Southern rallied to plate a pair of runs in the seventh, but had a runner thrown out at third base to end the game.
Scott County will meet Franklin County in Tuesday's semifinals.
The Flyers (24-12) slipped past Dunbar (20-14) 8-6.
Woodford County scored all its runs in the second inning and rode the two-hit pitching of eighth-grader Kyla Simpson to blank Madison Central (13-18) 6-0.
The Yellowjackets (22-10) will face Henry Clay in Tuesday's semifinals.
Scott Co. 9, Madison Southern 6
Madison Southern 100 210 2—6 11 5
Scott County 000 432 x—9 111
Tevis, Wickline (5), Tevis (7) and Crowe; Bond and King. 2B—Lowry (SC), Tevis (SC), Mullin (SC). 3B—Franchino (SC). HR—Lanham (MS).
Woodford Co. 6, Madison Central 0
Woodford County 060 000 0—6 10
Madison Central 000 000 0—0 2
Simpson and Head; Wilder and Rice.
Franklin Co. 8, Paul Dunbar 6
Paul Dunbar 200 102 1—6 8
Franklin County 003 131 x—8 11
Zander, Norton (6) and Ferguson; Howard and Johnson
Mark Maloney: (859) 231-3229. Twitter: @markmaloneyhl. Blog: markmaloney.bloginky.com.