OWENSBORO — There was no margin for error Thursday as Scott County edged Male 2-1 in the Rawlings KHSAA State Fast Pitch Softball Tournament.
The fourth-ranked Cardinals (34-4) capitalized on a fifth-inning error to tie the game, then pushed across the winning run an inning later at Jack C. Fisher Park.
The win keeps Scott County in the winners' bracket of the double-elimination tourney, to meet No. 2 Lone Oak, Friday morning at 10 EDT.
No. 20 Male (25-14), which beat Scott County twice during the regular season, drops to a Friday elimination contest against Central Hardin.
The Bulldogs took a 1-0 led in the first.
With two outs and runners on the corners, Alex Ginter hit a dribbler to Marlee Tevis. The pitcher threw home, but Kennedy Bishop beat the tag.
Trail runner Mandy Johnson made a delayed break from third to home for an apparent second run.
Umpire Eddie Simpson ruled that time had been called and sent Johnson back.
Male Coach Josh Bloomer was upset about that turn of events, as well as a safe call at first base that resulted in the winning run.
"The call in the first inning, it's really, really, really tough," Bloomer said. "I actually turned to that (umpire) at third base and I said 'I hope this doesn't come down to a one-run game,' and he said, 'Me, too.' .... I told the umpires we like to run late, and I gave them a heads up that we did that and they said, 'OK, we've got it; we're on top of it.' Then, in the very first inning, you just get an unfortunate break where the umpire just, in my opinion, calls time way too soon and doesn't let things play out.
"I know it's a judgment call at first but I think if you poll everybody on that play (in the sixth), I think Scott County's going 'Thank you.' I just don't think it was a very close play; I just think the umpire blew a call. And they blow them, I understand that. Everybody makes errors. But you're in the State Tournament. It's just very, very, very frustrating to have that happen when your team works so hard."
Scott County's Tevis tossed a complete-game four-hitter. The right-hander did not issue a walk and worked the corners to notch six strikeouts, three looking.
"Corners are the only thing that saved my butt, for sure," she said. "I don't have a ton of speed, but I can hit corners."
Meanwhile, the Cardinals put runners on in every inning against Jessica Wireman, who also worked a complete-game four-hitter.
The breakthrough to tie the game came in the fifth when Madison Mullin beat out an infield single. She stole second, took third on a groundout and scored when Michal Luckett's bad-hop grounder was mishandled for an error.
"I try not to focus too much on hitting it hard or hitting it far," Mullin said. "I just try to put it in play and try to get on base. I know that if I get on base, good things happen."
More good things followed in the sixth, starting with Jordyn Franchino's single.
She stole second base and, with one out, took third on a fly ball to right.
Elaina Johnson lined a shot off Wireman, then made a head-first slide into first as Franchino scored. Said Johnson: "I was hoping (I was safe). My face was in the dirt. I just looked up and saw the 'safe' and I was ecstatic."
At Jack C. Fisher Park in Owensboro(Double-elimination format)
Friday's schedule(All times Eastern)
10 a.m. — Winners' bracket play begins (six games)
Noon — Consolation bracket play begins (12 games)