Every time Lafayette players see a Scott County uniform, they flinch a little.
The red and black are a painful reminder of missed opportunities and heartbreak at the 11th Region Tournament.
In 2007 and again last season, the Cardinals knocked the Generals out of the tournament.
"We've left here in tears too many times," senior pitcher Cassidy Taylor said. "Not today. Not today."
Never miss a local story.
Taylor and her teammates on the No. 12 Generals made sure of it in the region semifinals Tuesday night at the University of Kentucky Softball Complex by upsetting the eighth-ranked Cardinals 7-1.
Lafayette advances to Wednesday's championship game, where the Generals will face Henry Clay, an 8-5 winner over Madison Central in nine innings in Tuesday's nightcap.
"We owed Scott County one for the people that played before us," said Taylor, who allowed two hits in six innings. "Every game could be your last game. We tried to remember that and play that way."
The Generals had plenty of motivation against Scott County. They'd lost to the Cardinals five straight times, though this was their first meeting this season.
Coach Dana Taylor said the Generals talked about a pre-season blog that simply asked: "Lafayette can score runs, but can they beat Scott?"
Alyssa Oakley, who had three hits and four RBI, said that was all the motivation the Generals needed.
"There was no way we were going to let them beat us again," she said.
That motivation showed from the start.
Brittany Sims led off a three-hit first inning with her triple to deep center. In the fourth inning, she also launched one deep for a double. She scored three runs in all. Alexis Hull drove in Sims a batter later.
Oakley, who got on base all four tries, broke open the game in the third inning with her two-run double. Lauren Mitchell sent Oakley home two batters later.
"We stayed with our game plan," Dana Taylor said. "We're a long-ball-hitting team. ... We didn't panic. We kept our composure. Overall, it was a great group effort."
In the fourth inning, Oakley struck again with a deep single that scored two runs.
Five players — Sims, Hull, Oakley, Lauren Mitchell and Lauren Brockman — had two or more hits for the Generals, who had 11 against pitchers Tanner and Marlee Tevis.
"We've got it rolling at the right time," Dana Taylor said.
Five runs were the most Scott County had given up in a game all season before Tuesday night. Coming into the region tournament, which they'd won three of the past four seasons, the Cards had allowed a region-low 44 runs.
They didn't get a hit or a player on base until the third inning, and they got only four more on base after that.
Their only run of the game came after Katie Stamper doubled to left against reliever Emily Kincaid. She scored on Tevis' single. Tevis was the only Scott County player to get more than one hit in the game, both singles.
"We're peaking at the right time: offense, defense, it all seems to be coming together," Dana Taylor said.
Henry Clay 8, Madison Central 5 (9): Timely hits for one team and untimely errors for another spelled the difference in a nine-inning thriller.
In the top of the ninth, eighth-grader Beth Ann Hamilton hit a two-run double to break a tense tie between the Devils and Madison Central.
In the four-run ninth, the Indians (15-21) had two key errors. It was a similar problem in the fourth inning, when they allowed the Devils (15-17) to score two of their three runs on fielding miscues.
Hamilton, Shandra Williams and Riley Stokes had two hits apiece for Henry Clay, which advances to its first region title game.
Lafayette, where Devils head coach Chris Hould used to be an assistant coach, blanked Henry Clay twice, 9-0 and 8-0 in the regular season.
Lafayette 103 210 0—7 11 1
Scott Co. 000 001 0—1 4 2
Cassidy Taylor, Emily Kincaid (6), Taylor (7) and Alexis Hull. Tanner Tevis, Marlee Tevis (3) and Kelsey Crowe. W—Taylor. L—T. Tevis. 2B—Katie Stamper (SC), Brittany Sims (L), Alyssa Oakley 2 (L). 3B—Brittany Sims.
Records—Scott Co. 25-5, Lafayette 23-10.
Henry Clay 000 301 004—8 10 1
Madison Central 100 201 001—5 10 8
Sarah Mathis and Emily Miller. Haylee King and Katie Lamb. W—Mathis. L—King. 2B—Beth Ann Hamilton (HC), Shandra Williams (HC), Riley Stokes (HC). 3B—Katie Lamb (MC).
Records—Henry Clay 15-17, Madison Central 15-21.