In a battle of birds, Scott County got off the ground quickly and didn’t look back.
The Cardinals defeated Madison Southern, 9-2, in the first round of the 11th Region tournament. Scott County held the event host to three hits while coming away with 11 of its own to close the opening round of the regional.
Cade McKee, a freshman, struck out four batters and walked one over six innings of work. He surrendered only two hits, a single and a homer back-to-back after retiring the first two batters of the fourth inning. Zach Bennett relieved him in the final inning.
“Cade could’ve easily finished the seventh inning but I just wanted to get Zach in there in case he’s gotta come in and throw tomorrow,” said Cards Coach Scott Willard, who wanted Bennett to get used to the mound at Madison Southern.
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McKee helped his own cause early with an RBI-single in the first inning. The Cardinals came up empty in the second frame before erupting for three runs in the third thanks to leadoff home runs by Cam Hill and Sam Sutton. They added three more in the fourth and one in each of their final at-bats.
Hill couldn’t take batting practice Sunday because he hurt his back during an obstacle-course run at Project Graduation on Saturday, Willard said. The University of Kentucky commit finished 3-for-4 on Monday.
“He said, ‘My swings were easy today and it seemed like I hit it better when I swung easy,’” Willard said.
Scott County will meet Lafayette in the semifinals on Wednesday. The two have not played since last season, when the Generals won 15-3 in Georgetown. Lafayette owns a six-game win streak in the series dating back to 2010.
“I guarantee you they’ll probably have (Brady) Bowling going and we’re gonna have (Jordan) Fox going, so it oughta be a good game hopefully,” Willard said.
He added with a grin. “Hopefully they don’t blow us out.”