An equipment change changed the game for Madison Central.
In the first round of the 11th Region Tournament at the University of Kentucky, the Indians were knotted up with Paul Laurence Dunbar.
Sophomore Carlee Carroll had been up to bat twice and still hadn't gotten a hit.
So in the sixth inning, she grabbed a different bat.
"I picked it up, and I could feel it when I touched the bat that I wanted to hit it really bad," she said.
Carroll found a gap in the Bulldogs' outfield and smashed the ball into it, scoring Ashleigh Livingston to put the Indians up for good and give them a 3-2 win.
"That was something," Central Coach Daniel Rogers said of Carroll's hit and then again later to describe the double play that ended Dunbar's hopes of advancing.
It propelled Central into Tuesday's semifinals, where it will face No. 23 Franklin County, the defending region champion.
The second semifinal will be a huge matchup: No. 4 Lafayette vs. No. 10 Scott County.
In that late game Monday, Carroll found the way to help Central move forward.
"It brought the team up," she said of the hit. "We needed that boost."
It didn't look as though her RBI boost would be enough. The Bulldogs rallied and put runners on second and third with just one out in the seventh.
But Madison Central shortstop Christina Ciolek snared a line drive and caught the Bulldogs' runner off third base to end the game.
"It was unbelievable, wasn't it?" Rogers said. "It was fun. It was really fun to watch."
The Bulldogs, who return a good portion of their 22-15 team next season, got three hits from freshman Ashton Salyers, who scored both of their runs.
No. 23 Franklin County 3, Bryan Station 2: After the game was over, Tracy Spickard used a serious tone with her Flyers. She looked more like the coach who lost rather than the coach who won.
"We didn't put forth our best effort today," she said. "We played back on our heels until the fifth inning, and you just can't do that."
Upstart Station had a 2-1 lead going into the fifth inning before Dana Jarboe's sacrifice fly tied it up.
An inning later, it was Brandi Allen's single that gave the Flyers the lift they'd been waiting for to help them win their 10th straight game.
"We had to fight like heck, but at this stage of the season, you're going to take that 'W' and run with it," Spickard said.
She credited Station, which was led by two hits apiece from Jordan Ellis and Tia Blakeman, for keeping her team on its heels.
No. 10 Scott County 4, No. 21 Western Hills 0: With six new starters, Cards Coach Scott Walters expected some nerves.
"You get up on that big stage in this nice stadium and you freeze up," he said.
But it didn't take the Cardinals long to get comfy in their new digs, scoring four runs in the second inning to pull ahead and stay ahead.
All of the runs were scored with two outs.
Megan Glover, Ashley Whitlock and Michaela Abney all went home on Michal Luckett's triple. Then Tanner Tevis knocked in Luckett with her double to nearly the same spot in centerfield
"We actually loosened up and started playing the way we play," Luckett explained.
The Cards, who won their seventh straight, managed just one hit after that, though.
It was all they needed.
Tevis gave up just two hits in four innings. In relief, Sarah Howard didn't allow a base runner, striking out six of the nine batters she faced to give Scott County its 14th shutout of the season.
No. 4 Lafayette 12, Model 2 (five innings): The Generals broke open the game with a seven-run fourth inning that included an in-the-park homer for Brittany Sims that drove in three runs.
Alexis Hull started the action with a two-run double, then Heather Oakley and Alyssa Oakley each drove in a run. Hull and Heather Oakley each went 3-for-3 to lead the Generals (35-4), who won their 12th straight game.
Shelby Schneid had two singles and an RBI for the Patriots (10-17), who scored two in the third inning.
Bryan Station 010 100 0—2 6 2
Franklin Co. 100 011 x—3 6 0
Stephanie Hamilton and Casey Brock. Emily Hampton and Brandi Allen. W—Hampton. L—Hamilton. 2B—Jordan Ellis (BS), Tia Blakeman (BS).
Records—Bryan Station 13-15-1, Franklin Co. 23-14.
Western Hills 000 000 0—0 2 2
Scott Co. 040 000 x—4 5 0
Krystal Cammuse and Alyssa Barker. Tanner Tevis, Sarah Howard (5) and Tabor Lewis. W—Tevis. L—Cummuse. 2B—Tevis; 3B—Michael Luckett (SC).
Records—Western Hills 20-18, Scott Co. 24-5.
Model 002 00—2 8 1
Lafayette 320 7 x—12 10 1
Emily Lowe and Lindsey Lewis. Cassidy Taylor, Emily Kincaid and Alexis Hull. W—Taylor. L—Lowe. 2B—Morgan Robinson (M), Hull 2 (L), Heather Oakley (L), Alyssa Oakley (L), Cassidy Taylor (L). HR—Brittany Sims (L).
Records—Model 10-17, Lafayette 35-4.
Paul Dunbar 101 000 0—2 7 1
Madison Central 200 001 x— 3 7 1
Kaylie Zander and Corie Roberts. Haylee King and Michele Smith. W—King. L—Zander. 2B—Katie Lamb (MC), Zander (PLD).
Records—Paul Laurence Dunbar 22-15, Madison Central 22-17.