On Tuesday night the Scott County softball team once again did what it seemingly has all year long — overwhelmed an 11th Region opponent with stingy pitching and timely hitting.
After going hitless through two innings, the No. 1-ranked Cardinals struck for three runs in the third and went on to knock off Lafayette 6-2 in the semifinals of the 11th Region tournament at Franklin County High School. They’ll play for their sixth straight region championship on Wednesday.
Scott County pitcher Megan Murphy was dominant in the circle. After allowing a leadoff single in the bottom of the first inning, the senior retired 12 straight batters before Carlee Jeter’s single in thefifth.
Murphy, who has signed with Morehead State, threw a complete game. She allowed three hits and struck out eight while walking two.
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“Megan struggled a little bit with her curveball but she didn’t go away from it. She kept working,” Scott County Coach Jeff Portwood said. “She was dialed in and pretty focused on the job at hand.”
Scott County’s bats came to life in the third inning. After Halie Fain walked and stole second, Carly Oliver blasted a deep double over the left fielder’s head to get the Cardinals on the board. Kennedy Sullivan smacked another double to left and Princess Valencia followed with a single for a 3-0 lead.
Oliver led off the fifth inning with a single and moved to third base on Hannah Davis’ double to right-center field. Lafayette catcher Kassi Eye tried to pick off Oliver at third but her throw wound up in left field, allowing Oliver to score and Davis to take third.
Sullivan followed with a sacrifice fly that sent Lafayette center fielder Kodi Forish up against the outfield wall.
“I kind of thought it was out,” Sullivan said. “But I did my job and got us a run.”
Sullivan’s two-hit, two-RBI performance came one night after she pitched the Cardinals to a 10-0 run-rule win over Berea in the quarterfinals. The junior, who’s verbally committed to Western Kentucky, said the one-two punch of Division I talent at pitcher is a big reason Scott County is a major threat to repeat as state champs.
“It’s been so nice having her out there this year. Last year, a lot of times I’d have to pitch back-to-back games but now we can give each other rests,” Sullivan said. “She and I like to go back and forth. It’s been really fun.”
Emily Jasper manufactured the Cardinals’ final run in the seventh, leading off with a walk then stealing second and third before scoring on another throw to third that was off the mark.
The Generals didn’t go quietly. After Kara Winchester reached on an error and Jeter drew a walk to start the seventh, Eye slapped a two-run single. But Oliver ended the game with a great defensive play at second, diving to snag a grounder then firing to first a step ahead of the runner.
Lafayette Coach Todd Avery was proud of the fight the Generals showed in their final inning of the year.
“Last year when we played Scott County we got run-ruled in four innings. Today they went out fighting and that’s all you can ask of any group is to never quit and to go out with your head high.”
Scott County 6, Lafayette 2
Murphy and Valencia; Jeter, Baseheart (6) and Eye. W—Murphy. L—Jeter. 2B—SC: Davis 2, Oliver, Sullivan.
Records: Scott County 32-4, Lafayette 22-14.
11th Region championship
Who: Scott County vs. Woodford County
When: 7 p.m.
Where: Franklin County