RICHMOND — It took extra innings, a pair of miscues and Maddie Mullin's speed for No. 8 Scott County to escape with a 2-1 win over Madison Southern on Monday in the 11th Region softball tournament at Eastern Kentucky University's Gertrude Hood Field.
The Cardinals advanced to Wednesday's semifinals to take on Woodford County, an 8-0 winner over Tates Creek. The other semifinal pits Madison Central versus Franklin County.
Scott County struck quickly in its game. Leadoff hitter Mullin hit a routine ground ball in the bottom of the first and circled the bases when the ball was thrown away.
Though the Cardinals pounded out 11 hits in the game, they wouldn't score again until eight innings later.
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Madison Southern managed three hits, all singles, in the first six innings, but all three runners were erased trying to reach second base. Two were caught stealing and one tried to stretch a single into a double.
"We had two missed signs early on," said Madison Southern Coach Brian Foley. "I like the aggressiveness, but it's just one of those things."
Meanwhile, Scott County was getting base runners but not getting them home.
"We just couldn't string anything together," said Scott County Coach Scott Walker. "They did a good job working the ball in and out on us and took us out of our hitting patterns."
The Eagles finally pushed across a run in the seventh to tie it 1-1.
Madison Southern's Morgan Grubb became the first Eagle to reach second base, taking a pitch off her left leg to reach first and then advancing on a groundout. Eagles shortstop Aleecia Broughton drove her home with a chopper that went over Scott County pitcher Marlee Tevis' head and dribbled into center field.
The Cardinals broke through with the winning run in the bottom of the ninth.
After two quick outs, Mullin singled and stole second. Scott County's Michal Luckett hit a grounder to shortstop and when the ball was bobbled, Mullin scooted home with the winning run.
"It was hit soft and Maddie is one of the fastest runners on the team," Walker said. "Maddie just got such a good jump at second base. Her speed paid off there. You can't teach that."
Tevis pitched a complete-game five-hitter for the Cards.
"Our defense was absolutely solid," Tevis said.
Walker was happy to see his team advance, but he said the Cardinals must play better to reach the championship.
"We have to hit better and be more patient at the plate. It's the regional tournament. You have to play each pitch like it's the last," Walker said.
Woodford County 8, Tates Creek 0: The Yellow Jackets scored five runs on six hits in the first inning and coasted.
Rachel McCoy went the distance for Woodford County, allowing four hits.
"Rachel did an excellent job in the circle," Woodford Coach Valdez Floyd said.
The Yellow Jackets pounded out 14 hits.
"We broke out hitting the ball and played some solid defense," Valdez said.
Scott County defeated Woodford County 8-4 in late March.
"Our game has been getting better and we look for it to be a real shootout," Valdez said.
Madison Central 5, Henry Clay 1: A big first inning and quality starting pitching led Madison Central in the opening quarterfinal.
The Lady Indians' Mackenzie Wilder went the distance, striking out six while allowing four hits.
"She's a freshman and she has been pitching awesome," said Madison Central Head Coach Daniel Rogers.
Wilder also caught a scorching liner up the middle for the first out in the seventh inning.
"That kind of made me nervous," Wilder said. "But I got it."
Madison Central capitalized on two Blue Devils errors and a pair of walks to plate three runs on just one hit in the first inning.
"That was a good win to get on to the next round," Rogers said. "Now we want to get over the hump and make it to the championship game."
Franklin County 4, Paul Dunbar 3: The Lady Flyers were led by the arm and the bat of sophomore Kara Howard.
"She showed some good poise and good leadership for us today," said Franklin County coach Tracy Spickard. "She came through with a huge hit in the third inning to get us on the board."
Howard had two hits, scored two runs and pitched three innings.
"I've been struggling a little bit lately with my swing, so today will give me some confidence for the rest of the regional," Howard said.
The Flyers allowed nine hits and committed three errors, but they made crucial plays in the field to hold on to the one-run lead late in the game.
"They made the big plays when they had to," Spickard said of his team. "They play with a lot of heart and determination. Those kids are fun to watch and coach."
Madison Southern 000 000 100—1 5 3
Scott Co. 100 000 001—2 11 1
Records—Scott Co. 30-7-1, Madison Southern 18-17.
Tates Creek 000 000 0—0 4 1
Woodford Co. 501 200 x—8 14 2
2B—Mary Carter Downing (TC), Andrea Graham (WC), Brooke Corum (WC). 3B—Shelby Able (WC), Brooke Corum (WC)
Records—Woodford Co. 23-14, Tates Creek 17-18.
Henry Clay 100 000 0—1 4 3
Madison Central 310 001 x—5 7 1
3B—Kirstin Spillman (MC), Shandra Williams (HC).
Records—Mad. Central 23-12, Henry Clay 18-18.
Franklin Co. 002 020 0—4 6 3
Paul Dunbar 010 020 0—3 9 1
2B—Shelby Shanks (PLD), Emily Bryan (PLD). 3B—Kara Howard (FC)
Records—Franklin Co. 23-12, Paul Dunbar 20-17-1.