Dominant pitching from a future Kentucky Wildcat led Woodford County to a 3-0 win over Madison Central in the semifinals of the 11th Region Softball Tournament on Tuesday.
Bethany Todd will suit up for UK in 2018, but in the first semifinal game at Madison Central the junior pitcher had a hot hand in the circle for the Yellow Jackets. She allowed just three hits and struck out 12 batters, sending Woodford County to its second straight 11th Region championship game.
Courtney Patton was no slouch in the circle for the Indians. She pitched a complete game and struck out six Yellow Jackets to keep Madison Central in it until the end. The Woodford County offense finally got to Patton in the top of the third inning after hits from Morgan Grose, Kyla Simpson and Paige Hampton loaded the bases. Caitlin Karo followed with a deep sacrifice fly to right field that scored two.
Todd said once the Yellow Jackets took the lead she shook the butterflies and felt a rush of confidence.
“I settled down fast after that”, she said. “Once our hitting gets started up its not gonna stop. After that I felt powerful.”
Woodford County head coach Sasha Turansky said Todd’s grit is among the factors that make her so dangerous.
“When it really comes down to it its about toughness and there’s no one tougher than her,” she said. “We know that no one can touch her and we just hand her the ball and let her handle business.”
Woodford added its final run in the fifth inning after loading the bases for the third time in the game. Kasey Abel scored when Lindsay Anderson was hit by a pitch. Patton induced consecutive groundouts to limit the damage and give the Indians a shot, but their offense only managed one hit the rest of the way. Todd retired the side in order in the sixth and seventh innings to seal the win for Woodford.
Madison Central head coach Daniel Rogers said Woodford will be tough to beat with Todd in the circle.
“She’s no doubt probably the best pitcher we’ve seen all year and we’ve seen great pitching all year,” he said. “We’ve played the best teams in the state of Kentucky and she could pitch for any of them. She no doubt earned that win today.”
Yellow Jackets catcher Paige Hampton said Todd, whom she calls her best friend, made her job easy on Tuesday.
“She was so awesome,” said Hampton. “I love it when my pitcher just comes focused and ready and I knew it was gonna be a great game the way she warmed up.”
Hampton said after losing to Scott County in the title game last year, the Yellow Jackets are excited for the chance to go a step further and bring home an 11th Region championship.
“We’re absolutely hyped,” she said. “We know this is our year and we’re excited to show people.”
SCOTT CO. 3, MADISON SOUTHERN 0
Behind thirteen strikeouts from Kennedy Sullivan Scott County shutout Madison Southern in the second semifinal of the 11th Region tournament, setting up a rematch of last year’s finals when the Cardinals beat Woodford County 3-0.
Scott County got on the board in the fourth inning on a sacrifice fly from Sam Smith that scored pinch runner Emily Jasper, who had raced from first to third on a bunt by Taylor Ricketts.
The Cardinals added a run in the fifth inning when Halie Fain got caught in a rundown but managed to beat the tag at home and another in the sixth when Carly Oliver scored on a wild pitch.
Sullivan made the lead hold up, retiring five of the final six batters and striking out the side in the seventh.
“Even though we didn’t do well on the offensive end Kennedy put the team on her back,” said Scott County head coach Jeff Portwood.
The Cardinals clipped the Yellow Jackets 7-6 on March 22. The rematch is set for 7 p.m. at Madison Central High School on Wednesday.
Todd and Hampton; Patton and Hendrix. W—Todd. L—Patton. 2B—MC: Arthur; WC: Grose.
Records—Madison Central 21-9, Woodford Co. 28-2.
Napier, Richardson (5) and Riley; Sullivan and Ison. W—Sullivan. L—Napier. 2B—SC: Smith.
Records—Scott Co. 30-2, Madison Southern 15-13.
Josh Sullivan; 859-231-3225 @sullyjosh
Finals at Madison Central
Woodford County vs. Scott County, 7 p.m.