McCracken County’s unprecedented run of dominance in the KHSAA Softball State Tournament ended with a pop up to second base on Friday afternoon.
Mercy defeated the Mustangs, 5-3, in the second round of loser’s bracket play to extend its own season. The Jaguars were scheduled to play Central Hardin at 5 p.m. CST Friday at Jack C. Fisher Park.
McCracken County, which opened in the 2013-14 school year, reached the state-championship finals the first three seasons it fielded a program. The Mustangs won the state title in 2015 and finished as runners-up to Scott County in 2014 and 2016. They entered this year’s tournament with an overall record of 18-4 in their state-tournament appearances, the best win-loss ratio of any program in state history.
For the second straight year McCracken County, ranked third in the state, lost to No. 5 Male in the opening round of the tournament. It mounted an epic run in last year’s tournament, winning seven straight games to force a winner-take-all finals bout.
The Mustangs were not as fortunate this season. They routed Leslie County, 13-0, on Friday morning before falling to Mercy in an afternoon game played soon after the Leslie contest ended.
Mercy fell into the loser’s bracket after losing to No. 4 Madisonville, 12-0, in the second round of winner’s bracket play to start the day. The Jaguars upset No. 2 Woodford County, the highest-ranked team in the field, in the first round Friday night.
McCracken jumped out to a 1-0 lead and then led 3-2 after one and a half innings, but Mercy went ahead for good, 4-3, on a triple by Melissa Collings in the bottom of the second. The Jaguars added insurance in the third inning.
Lexi Ray, who’s committed to the University of Tennessee-Martin, gave up just four hits to McCracken County.