Nothing like a bit of determination to help pull off a well-orchestrated game plan.
Lexington Catholic stunned host Tates Creek 4-1 Monday in the opening round of the 43rd District tournament.
"The third time's the charm," said Coach Stephon Brown, whose Lady Knights lost to Creek twice during the regular season. "It's pretty hard to beat somebody three times. And we had our game plan, what we were going to do — make them come to the right side every time because that was our strongest side of the infield. And Cece (Wittry) pitched a perfect game and made them hit the way that we wanted them to."
Wittry, a freshman, tossed a complete-game four-hitter.
"We tried to work it on the outside because we know they're pull hitters," Wittry said. "That worked pretty well. The left fielder didn't really get much action, which is very good because we know they can yank it to the left side."
Catholic (11-21) will meet Dunbar in the semifinals, Tuesday at 6 p.m. That game will be followed by Lafayette versus Lexington Christian.
The finals are set for 6 p.m. Wednesday.
For Tates Creek (10-16), Monday's outcome meant more than the end of a season. John Groft, who announced earlier this month that he would retire at season's end, coached his final game.
"All season we either hit a bunch or didn't," he said. "If you look at our scores, we're either 12, 13, 14 runs or we're one or two. And today was the one day that we only had one run.
"It's a long season and, when you look at different things, we had so much accomplished. ... I'll miss the game."
The Commodores, who upended Catholic 5-1 on March 27 and 3-2 on May 6, took a 1-0 lead in the first.
Kendall Fields, who singled and advanced to second on a groundout, came home when Kenzi Groft stroked a single up the middle.
Lexington Catholic put its first two runners on in the second, but could not score.
When the Lady Knights put the first two on in the third, though, they found a way.
Kathleen Stacy and Sophie Robic started things with back-to-back singles.
One out later, a groundout advanced the runners to second and third.
Carly Biega brought them both home with a single to left.
What was going through Biega's mind at the plate?
"Not a lot. Just hit the ball, really," she said. "I just wanted to make something happen. I wanted to get our runners in, and whatever I had to do. Just focus on the ball and get it to the outfield."
Catholic manufactured a run in the fifth.
Robic put down a one-handed bunt for a single, stole second and took third on a sacrifice. She scored on Wittry's sac fly to right field.
The Knights' final run came in on a bases-loaded wild pitch in the sixth inning.
"Our bats came through like they should," Brown said. "We talked about it, and the pressure was down. I said, 'just relax and just play the game.' And they relaxed. ... But most of all, the girls wanted it.
"They've never won a first district game in, I want to say, five-plus years or so, and they wanted it. Take nothing away from Tates Creek. It was just our night. I give it all to the girls because they did a super job, from defense to offense."
Lexington Catholic 4, Tates Creek 1
Lexington Catholic 002 011 0—4 9 1
Tates Creek 100 000 0—1 4 2
Wittry and Martin. Groft and Mutters. W—Wittry. L—Groft.
Mark Maloney: (859) 231-3229. Twitter: @markmaloneyhl. Blog: markmaloney.bloginky.com.