OWENSBORO — Estill County saved the best for last in Thursday's opening round of the Rawlings/KHSAA Softball State Tournament at Jack C. Fisher Park.
Shut out for six innings, the Engineers went to bat for the final time facing a 2-0 deficit. On cue, Estill scored three times to edge Nicholas County 3-2.
Shelby Arthur's two-out, bases-loaded, two-run double to the gap in left-center secured the walk-off win.
"For some reason, we wait until the very last minute to start hitting," said Arthur, a junior. "That's just what we do. ... When one hits, we all hit."
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Estill County Coach Shirley Beard knew her team had a chance to rally.
"Our girls do not give up," she said. "They really don't. ... We didn't hit the ball like I wanted to at the beginning, but then we came through when we needed to, so that's all that matters."
Rachel Robinson drove in Estill's first run.
Miranda Winkler walked, loading the bases for Arthur.
Arthur said she was "a nervous wreck" as she came to bat, but is "always confident."
When the ball practically screamed off her bat, "I was like 'why couldn't I have done that earlier? Why wait until this situation?'"
Boyle County advances: Boyle County scored a run in the second and tacked on three in the fourth en route to a 4-1 victory over Oldham County.
The Rebels escaped a bases-loaded jam, allowing only one run, in the sixth. Oldham stranded two more runners in the seventh.
"We did real well, considering everything," Boyle Coach Brian Deem said. "Oldham County's a great team. We were able to get a run early and put four up. We found a way to make some plays to get us out of a couple of jams in the sixth and the seventh."
North Laurel tops Ashland: North Laurel scored twice in the sixth inning to edge Ashland Blazer 3-1.
Eighth-graders Mikayla Vires and Kailin Yantz triggered the winning rally.
Vires led off with a double. One out later, Yantz put down a hard-to-handle sacrifice bunt, reaching on an error.
Vires scored on Kristin Fields' single, and Fields eventually scored on another Ashland error.
Owensboro Catholic a walk-off winner: The hometown team pulled out a dramatic walk-off win as Owensboro Catholic eked past Johnson Central 2-1.
With one out, the Lady Aces strung together singles by Haley James, Hayley Frey and Olivia Foster. Foster's hit scored James with the winning run.
Other games: Ryle edged Christian County 1-0, Lone Oak beat Green County 4-3, and Mercy mercy-ruled Bullitt East 16-1 in four innings.