OWENSBORO — The secret to unranked Boyle County's success in the Rawlings/KHSAA Softball State Tournament is nothing.
Really, it's nothing.
"A dangerous team to play is a team that just doesn't know any better," Coach Brian Deem said after the Rebels beat Ryle 7-3 on Friday to reach the winners'-bracket finals. "And, to be honest, I think that's kind of us a little bit. We just don't know any better. We're going to go out there and play, and play hard."
The 16-team double-elimination tournament, now down to a Final Four, will wrap up Saturday with Boyle facing Mercy in the winners'-bracket finale at 9 a.m. CDT. Losers'-bracket games are set for 9 and 11 a.m. CDT. The championship game will be at 1 p.m. CDT. If necessary, another game would immediately follow.
Boyle starter Elyse Petrie held Ryle to a single through five innings, helping the Rebels to a 6-0 lead.
In the sixth, though, two errors helped Ryle score three runs and load the bases with two outs.
Deem called on Hannah Miniard to relieve, and she did by getting Hannah Brumbach to ground out. Miniard set the Raiders down 1-2-3 in the seventh.
"They're just playing hard. They've done a great job of staying focused and not getting caught up in everything," Deem said. "We got in a tight spot there — they came back and scored three. I thought we could have panicked a little bit, and I think our feet got a little heavy on us and that's what cost two errors.
"But we refocused and brought Hannah in; I thought (that was) a good change of speed, and was able to neutralize the threat and get the save."
Mercy 7, Lone Oak 2: Erika Downey went 2-for-4 and drove in three runs as the Jaguars advanced.
Winning pitcher J.J. Francis gave up two runs on seven hits, striking out two.
Ryle 1, North Laurel 0 (8): Haylee Smith's two-out, full-count RBI single scored Hannah Brumbach, who drew a leadoff walk, for the walk-off win. The hit was one of only three allowed by North Laurel's Megan Baldwin, who struck out two.
Boyle County 8, Estill County 0: K.K. Davis held the Engineers to four hits, striking out eight. At the plate, Davis went 3-for-4 and drove in a run.
Mercy 2, Greenwood 1 (10): Jordan Vorbrink's RBI single in the bottom of the 10th ended the longest game of the tournament. Lauren Springhetti's two-out RBI single in the bottom of the seventh forced extra innings.
Lone Oak 7, Owensboro Catholic 1: The Purple Flash scored three in the first and rolled behind a 13-hit attack.