OWENSBORO — One thing is certain in the Worth/KHSAA State Softball Tournament: there will be a new champion when the event wraps up Saturday.
Defending titlist Scott County dropped a pair of games Friday at Jack C. Fisher Park, falling 9-6 to Male and then eliminated in the loser's bracket 2-0 by North Laurel.
"We fell short with our bats," Scott County Coach Jeff Portwood said after the loss to North Laurel. "I think we only had three hits. You can't win ball games here at the state tournament with three hits.
"Kelsey (Southard, pitcher) done a great job. She hasn't pitched a lot for us this year. She came in and did a great job on the mound. Great leadership by (Sam) Luckett. It's just unfortunate we fell short."
North Laurel's Payten Gregory checked the Cardinals on three hits and a walk.
The Jaguars scored both runs in the fourth inning.
Mikayla Vires and Olivia Miller started the frame with back-to-back singles.
NaTasha Colwell's sacrifice bunt moved the runners to second and third.
Vires scored on a fielder's choice grounder to shortstop, beating a throw to the plate.
Miller came home on a base hit by Shani Collins.
"I told them how proud I was," Portwood said of the Cardinals (31-10). "They led by example, our two seniors. The girls, there's no doubt that they didn't play hard. Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose. Today we were on the other end."
Scott County opened the day by falling 9-6 to Male in a winner's bracket game.
The Bulldogs scored in each of the first five innings.
Scott County had two runs negated by a first-inning interference call.
With Hannah Davis on second and two out, Jordan Ison hit a groundball to shortstop. The throw to first was wild, and a throw to try to catch Ison at second base sailed into the outfield. Both Davis and Ison crossed the plate, but Davis was called for interfering with the shortstop at the start of the play.
"It is what it is," Portwood said. "He should have called it when the play happened and not wait until we score two runs and then decide to call it. But that's part of this game, so we'll work through that. One call shouldn't (beat you), and that's not what beat us."
The Cardinals hurt themselves with a pair of errors and eight walks.
Male took charge with two runs in the first and solo home runs by Madison Mudd in the second and Amanda McIver in the third.
Scott County's big blow was a seventh-inning bases-loaded triple by Sam Smith.
Winner's bracket games
Ashland Blazer 3, East Jessamine 0: Megan Hensley tossed a four-hit shutout, striking out 15 and not yielding a walk.
Sydney Campbell drove in a pair of first-inning runs, and Hayley Kilburn added a sixth-inning RBI.
East's Hannah James held the Kittens to four hits, striking out four and walking one.
McCracken Co. 7, Anderson Co. 4: Top-ranked McCracken scored twice in the first inning and eventually built a 7-0 lead.
Anderson scored all its runs in the seventh inning, with RBI by Sammy Rogers, Bailey Curry, Mia Aldridge and Kaci Currens.
Warren East 1, Johnson Central 0: Brooklynn Willis drove in Nicki Gibbs with a first-inning run.
Katie Gardner and Cailyn Howard combined on a four-hit shutout, with seven strikeouts and no walks.
Bailey Daniel had two hits for the Eagles.
McCracken Co. 8, Male 1: Hannah Ridolfi and Kalli Harris drove in two runs each as McCracken advanced to the winner's bracket finals.
Jenny Chapman held Male to six hits, with two walks and two strikeouts.
Ashland Blazer 2, Warren East 1 (10): Megan Hensley led off the top of the 10th inning with a home run, helping the Kittens each the winner's bracket finals.
Hensley also drove in Ashland's other run, in the third inning. In the circle, the University of Louisville commit struck out 15, walked none and scattered five hits.
Estill Co. 2, Notre Dame 1: The Engineers scored a pair of unearned runs in the first inning and won despite getting only one hit.
McKeely Muncie held the Pandas to three hits, struck out six, and had Estill's lone hit against Haylee Smith.
North Laurel 7, Montgomery Co. 0: Mikayla Vires fired a one-hitter, fanning four and walking none.
At the plate, she belted a pair of homers and doubled, driving in four runs and scoring two.
Hunter Scott's double spoiled Vires' no-hit bid.
Mercy 3, Madisonville-North Hopkins 0: Leigh Ellen Thomas twirled a one-hitter, striking out seven and walking none.
Thomas had two hits, including a first-inning RBI single. Sam Dykes had two hits, with a sixth-inning two-run single.
Whitney Bean had the only hit for the Maroons.
East Jessamine 6, Central Hardin 5: The last of Hannah James' 11 strikeouts ended the game with the bases loaded with Bruins.
Sarah Rainwater had three hits, including a homer, and four RBI for East. Olivia Day had three hits and two RBI.
Anderson Co. 11, Estill Co. 0: Bailey Curry homered and drove in four runs as the Bearcats won in five innings.
Mia Aldrdige and Jenni Beasley combined to two-hit Estill.
Mercy 7, Johnson Central 1: Melissa Collins and Abby Wilder each had two hits and two RBI for the Jaguars.
Mercy 5, East Jessamine 3: Jordan Vorbrink drove in two runs for Mercy.
Olivia Day had two of East's five hits, and Allison Schubert hit a two-run homer.
Anderson Co. 11, North Laurel 2: Bailey Curry had three hits, including a two-run homer, and drove in five runs for the Bearcats.
Rebecca Riley had two of North Laurel's eight hits.