Bryan Station had faced Henry Clay three times going into the post-season, including one scrimmage, with the Blue Devils winning all three games.
Tuesday, however, the Defenders answered in the most important matchup of the season with a 3-2 win to secure a spot in the 11th Region Tournament. They'll face Scott County in the 42nd District finals on Wednesday night.
Junior Stephanie Hamilton pitched seven innings and gave up one of the two runs, and Coach Brad White said he was pleased with her work.
"Stephanie hit her spots pretty well. She has a lot of finesse," White said.
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Neither team ever led by more than one run. Both Hamilton and Henry Clay's Sara Mathis pitched all seven innings.
"(It's) just a lot of battl ing," Hamilton said.
She got some timely help offensively. With the score tied at two going into the seventh, Suzanne Hall doubled to the left-center wall. Breeawna Hayes' single scored Hall for the winning run.
Earlier, after Cidney Brock reached second, a throw from first to third following a Hamilton groundout was off target. Brock scored to tie the game.
Henry Clay's Chelsea Bleck scored in the first after a bunt, stolen base and an error. A fifth-inning double by Abby Patrick provided the only other run for the Blue Devils.
Henry Clay Coach Mark Reese acknowledged the difficult end to the season for his team and credited his counterpart.
"I don't know whether we overlooked it a little bit. I think Coach White's done the best job (building the Bryan Station program). It was a successful season, but certainly you don't want to end it like this."
Bryan Station 000 110 1—3 6 1
Henry Clay 100 010 0—2 4 3
S. Hamilton and Ellis. Mathis and M. Hamilton. W—S. Hamilton. L—Mathis. 2B—Patrick (HC), Hall (BS). Records—Bryan Station 8-20, Henry Clay 17-12.