OWENSBORO — Scott County kept waiting to get its groove back.
The No. 10 Cardinals had tons of momentum heading out of the region tournament, but it didn't seem to carry over to the state softball tournament on Friday.
In the opener against No. 6 Mercy, the Cardinals fell 7-1.
In the consolation bracket of the double-elimination event at Jack Fisher Park, Scott County tripped and fell to Ashland 2-1 to end the season.
"They seemed to leave their best in Georgetown this time," Coach Scott Walters said afterward. "I don't know what happened.
"We were really hoping what we did in the region would carry over."
But it didn't.
Three uncharacteristic Cardinals errors in the sixth inning broke open a 3-0 game and allowed the Jaguars to score four runs.
Mercy was led by Morgan Ellington's two hits. Catcher Kelsey Wood and designated player Amanda Schumacher each had two RBI for Mercy, which won its seventh straight.
The seven runs were tied for the most given up this season by the Cardinals, who had allowed a region-low 44 runs before the start of the post-season tournaments.
In the next game against Ashland, the hero was Katelyn Miller, whose two-run single in the second inning gave the Kittens all the cushion they would need.
After they grabbed the lead, there was a 30-minute lightning delay, which seemed to wake up the Cardinals, who scored a run in the fifth inning on Michaela Abney's single.
In the top of the seventh inning, senior Taber Lewis singled for the Cardinals and her courtesy runner advanced all the way to third base, where she was stranded to end the game and Scott County's season. In the finale, the Cards stranded five runners.
"They were so hard to get a read on today," Walters said of his team. "They talked loose, but they played so tight at times."
He said the team seemed to rush offensively and "hit the bottom of the ball way too much."
Walters told his four Cardinals seniors — Lewis, Ashley Whitlock, Sarah Howard and Bree Saunders — to forget about these two losses and remember the four varsity seasons they have played through.
In that span, the seniors went 121-31-1 and advanced to the state tournament in three of the past four years. Their worst finish in that time was region tournament runner-up.
"We told them not to base their careers on these two losses, to base it on the whole body of work," Walters said. "And it's been an amazing body of work."
They also will be back in Georgetown on Saturday to graduate with their fellow seniors.
"I'm sure they'd still rather be here," Walters said.
The coaches had arranged for them to receive their diplomas in Owensboro if they had still been alive in the state tournament.