If Stephon Brown looked like someone who had just had a weight taken off of him, it was for good reason.
"That's a monkey off the back," the coach said after his Lexington Catholic softball team edged host Lexington Christian 6-5 Tuesday, snapping a nine-game losing streak.
"They came to play today, and they hit the ball like no other," Brown said. "We played defense well compared to the other games."
Catholic (4-13) rallied from a 4-0 deficit with five runs in the fourth inning. Harper Ford's home run to lead off the sixth proved to be the decisive run.
"Oh, man, it was great!" Ford said of her shot to center field. "I started jogging to first. I'm like 'I got it, I got it,' and then I threw my hands up in the air. It was exciting."
The outcome avenged a 7-6 LCA win at Catholic on March 20.
"Our girls fought hard," said Gina Covington, coach of the Eagles (8-7). "Just too many gaps in the hitting part for us. But we'll see them again in district. We'll get 'em."
LCA was in control early, striking for four runs in the third.
Emily Orrender and Brylan Isaacs each singled in a run, and pitcher Hannah James followed with a two-run homer.
Catholic answered with a big inning of its own, fueled by small ball.
Sophie Robic led off the fourth for the Lady Knights by stroking a double to right-center.
"Sometimes we struggle getting things started off, so the first batter needs to get on base most of the time to get something going," Robic said. "So we had some momentum going with that inning. We had it from there, I think."
Robic went to third on a passed ball, then stayed put when Carly Biega bunted for a single.
Another bunt single, this one by Ford, scored Robic.
"I just wanted to start to play small ball, just to see, and it was to our advantage," Brown said. "It worked. I wanted to change the pace up a little bit."
Hannah Martin and Marina Dickinson followed with solid RBI singles. Another scored on Shelby Shephard's sacrifice bunt, and a fifth came home on Kathleen Stacy's groundout.
"They chose to go to the more short game," Covington said. "A couple defensive lapses on our part, and they got a couple of key hits."
Ford's homer in the sixth gave the Knights a 6-4 cushion.
LCA nearly pulled the game out in the seventh, scoring a run on Orrender's two-out RBI single.
But Cecelia Wittry, who pitched the distance, closed out the win with her ninth strikeout.
"It's been pretty rough," Robic said of Catholic's losing streak. "But now with a come-from-behind win, it's pretty nice with my team to see we have a little bit of fight still in us."
"I think we've got it now," Ford said. "I think we have a good chance in districts."
LCA has similar intentions.
"We've come a long way," Covington said. "We're here to make a statement in our district. We're not done."
Lexington Catholic 6,Lexington Christian 5
Lexington Catholic 000 501 0 — 6 9 1
Lexington Christian 004 000 1 — 5 8 1
Wittry and Ford; H.James and A.James. W—Witty; L—H.James. 2B—Robic, Cath.; A.James and Byers, LCA. 3B—Isaacs, LCA. HR—Ford, Cath., H.James, LCA.
Mark Maloney: (859) 231-3229. Twitter: @MarkMaloneyHL. Blog: markmaloney.bloginky.com.