Scott County has had its way at the 11th Region Tournament for the better part of this decade, and is expected to do so again this week as regional play gets underway at Frederick Douglass High School on Memorial Day.
The Cardinals, whose streak of five straight region titles was broken after falling 1-0 to Woodford County in last season's finals, were ranked as the state's No. 1 team in the final coaches poll and bring a 30-2 record into the tournament after beating Frederick Douglass, 10-0, for their 13th consecutive 42nd District championship. Scott County will again get Berea — whom it shut down, 10-0, in last year's first round — in this year's opener. The Pirates (10-9) had won three straight before falling to Madison Southern, 15-0, in the 44th District finals.
Lafayette defeated Paul Laurence Dunbar, 5-2, to secure its second straight 43rd District championship and a meeting with 41st District runner-up Franklin County in the tournament's opening game on Monday. The Generals (20-11-1) last year overcame an early deficit to knock out the Flyers, 6-4, in the opening round.
Should they advance again, the Generals almost certainly would meet Scott County in Tuesday's semifinals. The Cardinals took a 5-1 decision at home over Lafayette last month, one of their narrowest victories against 11th Region competition this season.
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Defending region champion Woodford County was not as intimidating this year as it was in past seasons, but the Yellow Jackets (23-8) still finished with the region's second-best record and were undefeated against 11th Region teams not named Scott County. They'll open against tournament host Frederick Douglass.
The Broncos (9-17) couldn't get much going against Scott County in the district finals but put together one of their best games of the season in a 12-4 win over Bryan Station in the 42nd semifinals. Lexington's new high school earned its first berth to any 11th Region tournament competition with that victory.
Madison Southern ended Madison Central's three-year reign as 44th District champ and also ended the Indians' season with a 9-8 win in the district semis. The Eagles are only 12-15 overall but went 7-3 against 11th Region competition, a mark that includes a win over Lafayette and three wins over Franklin County.
Paul Laurence Dunbar (14-9) will look to end Madison Southern's fortune against region foes. Twelve of the Bulldogs' wins were in the region. They dropped three of their last four games but qualified for their eighth region tournament in the last nine years thanks to a 3-0 victory over Tates Creek in the 43rd District semifinals.
11th Region softball tournament
At Frederick Douglass High School
Lafayette vs. Franklin Co., 10 a.m.
Scott Co. vs. Berea, noon
Woodford Co. vs. Frederick Douglass, 3 p.m.
Madison Southern vs. Paul Laurence Dunbar, 5 p.m.
Semifinals, 6 p.m. and 8 p.m.
Championship, 7 p.m.