GEORGETOWN — Henry Clay put a scare into sixth-ranked Scott County, but the Cardinals came up with enough answers to score a 6-4 victory in Tuesday's finals of the 42nd District softball tournament.
Both teams advance to next week's 11th Region tourney at Bryan Station.
"Kudos to our girls," Cardinals Coach Jeff Portwood said. "They didn't give up. They kept it going, kept the pressure on and didn't lay down. So that's a good sign. Henry Clay's got a very good ball club. We're lucky to get away."
When Henry Clay scored a run to take a 2-1 lead in the top of the fourth, Scott County answered with two in the bottom of the frame.
And when Henry Clay scored twice for a 4-3 lead in the sixth, the Cards came back in the bottom of the inning for three runs.
"We had to respond," said Halie Fain, who had a double, triple and two RBI. "We were getting ourselves in a hole."
"It wasn't the prettiest game, but we pulled it out," winning pitcher Marlee Tevis said. "We made the adjustments we needed to and we did what we had to do."
A Scott County run in the first inning and a Henry Clay marker in the second set the stage for a tug of war.
Henry Clay took a 2-1 lead in the fourth, loading the bases with no outs. Olivia Pelton drove in Sarah Parsons with the go-ahead run, but Tevis avoided further damage.
In the bottom of the inning, a pair of Blue Devils errors allowed one run to score, and Fain tripled to score another.
"I get myself in a hole too often," said Fain, who poked a two-strike pitch down the left-field line. "This game's supposed to be fun. Let's have fun. That's all that was going through my mind."
Henry Clay responded with two runs in the sixth. Anna Hensley's groundout scored Parsons, who had opened the inning with a single. Alex Cooper singled in Emily Miller, who had reached on an error.
In the bottom of the sixth, Sam Luckett started the decisive rally with a one-out double, then scored the tying run on Jordan Ison's single.
That brought up Ally Jo Schneider.
"I took the first pitch and it was a ball, and Coach gave me the bunt sign," Schneider said. "I knew ... I had to get it down and that's what I did.
"I was called safe at first and then they threw at the runner going to third. There was nobody there — they overthrew it — and she scored. It just worked."
Fain's double drove in a final run.
"We gave it everything we had," Henry Clay Coach George Beard said. "We made some little mistakes and it cost us the game. That simple."
The Devils lost twice to Scott County during the regular season, most recently a 10-0 decision on May 5. This time, they were much more competitive.
"They didn't give in," Beard said. "They kept fighting until the end."
But Scott County once again claims the title of district champ, with bigger goals in mind.
"It's good," Schneider said. "One out of three championships we need."
Portwood likes the Cards' chances in the 11th Region tournament.
"The leadership's been there all year with our three seniors, and our youth is coming around," he said. "Still need to work on defense, looking at tonight. But all's good. I think we've got a good chance."
Scott County 6, Henry Clay 4
Henry Clay 010 102 0—4 4 5
Scott County 100 203 x—6 9 3
Hensley and Miller; Tevis and Ison. W—Tevis. L—Hensley. 2B—SC: Fain, Luckett. 3B—SC: Fain.
All-tournament team—Mackenzie Tolson and Alyssa Lewis, Bryan Station; Anna Hensley, Emily Miller and Sarah Parsons, Henry Clay; Marlee Tevis, Ally Jo Schneider, Katie Stamper and Halie Fain, Scott Co.