The score of Lafayette's 43rd District softball championship win over Lexington Catholic — 7-1 — would suggest an offensive onslaught Wednesday.
Yet it was pitching and defense that carried the Lady Generals at Tates Creek's field. Plus, the ability to take advantage when Catholic's defense faltered.
No. 15 Lafayette scored twice in the first inning and five times in the second.
"We came out with huge intensity. We wanted this team bad," said Lauren Mitchell, a sophomore shortstop who had two hits, two runs and two stolen bases in the game. "They beat us the first round of districts last year; in fact, last year today. ... We were ready to play."
Lafayette (25-8) and Catholic (15-19) both advance to the 11th Region tourney, set to start Monday at the University of Kentucky.
"I think we're going in the right direction," said Dana Taylor, the Lafayette coach. "We've got all the tools, if we just put it together."
Mitchell got the Lady Generals going, leading off the game with a single, stealing second and advancing to third on a fly ball. The first of four Catholic errors — Lafayette played error-free — allowed Mitchell to score.
Cassidy Taylor, who reached base on the error, also would eventually score.
The five-run second was fueled by three consecutive balls that didn't make it past the pitching circle.
Brittany Bray reached when pitcher Casey Cleary mishandled a ball. Indecision between Cleary and catcher Hannah Sims ruled on back-to-back bunt singles by Mitchell and Brittany Sims. Bray scored on Brittany Sims' bunt, and an error sent Mitchell home. Cassidy Taylor, Lauren Brockman and Samantha Youngblood would each drive in a run.
Mitchell, tournament MVP Alyssa Oakley and Heather Oakley each had two of Lafayette's 10 hits. Beth Mueller accounted for two of Catholic's five hits and its only run.
She scored on a seventh-inning wild pitch, the second-to-last pitch of the game.
Six of Lafayette's seven runs were unearned.
"Just didn't step up and make a couple," said Bobby Griggs, coach of the Lady Knights. "Errors happen to the best teams. And good teams, when you give them extra outs, will make you pay."
After the top of the second, as a gaggle of geese grazed beyond the outfield fence, the teams matched the fowl — goose egg for goose egg — until the seventh.
Kylee Johnson and Cassidy Taylor split circle duties for Lafayette. Cleary and Kelsey Hamilton teamed to blank the Generals the last five innings.
"We feel good about that," Griggs said. "We'd like to have the first two innings back, but that's the way the game's played."Lafayette250 000 0—7 10 0
Lexington Catholic 000 000 1—1 5 4
Johnson, Taylor (4), Johnson (7) and Youngblood; Cleary, Hamilton (3), Cleary (6) and Sims. W—Johnson. L—Cleary.
All-tournament team—Sarah Miller and Shelby Slusher (Lexington Christian); Carleigh Adams and Jazz Day (Tates Creek); Corie Roberts and Mackenzie Duncan (Dunbar); Casey Cleary, Rachel Hollembaek and Jill Maronda (Catholic); Kylee Johnson, Heather Oakley and Lauren Brockman (Lafayette).
MVP—Alyssa Oakley (Lafayette).