During the entire regular season, Boyle County and Mercer County were the top two teams in the entire 12th Region, as both clubs simply dominated their opponents all-year long.
Those same two teams will get a chance to battle for a regional championship banner this evening, as the pair of teams came away with victories last night in their semifinal match-ups at Millennium Park in Danville. Boyle County advanced to the finals with a 1-0 win over Pulaski County, while Mercer County breezed past Danville, 9-0.
Pulaski made things tough one the region’s toughest team in Boyle County, as the Lady Maroons went wire-to-wire before falling to the Lady Rebels by a lone run. The pesky Lady Maroons, coached by Scott Taylor, didn’t back down from Boyle County despite coming into the contest with 13 less wins than the Lady Rebels.
But with a one-run single from Heather Hasty in the bottom of the sixth inning and the sensational pitching of Hannah Miniard, the Lady Rebels were able to sneak past Pulaski with a 1-0 triumph to earn a spot in this evening’s title game.
“It was a good ballgame between two good teams,” began Taylor, who saw his club finish with a final record of 15-24. “It came down to whoever had the ability to score a run first. You’ve got to give Boyle County credit, Miniard did a wonderful job pitching, she kept us off balance all-night long. We didn’t come out and lay down, they beat us and you can live with that concept.”
“It’s a really disappointing loss, but I’m really proud of my team,” continued the veteran Pulaski softball coach. “A lot of people didn’t think that we would make it this far or even make it out of district. A lot of people said we would never win the first game of the region. Nobody gave us a chance to win tonight, but we came out and gave them all they wanted.”
The contest was a pitcher’s duel between Pulaski senior Brittany McKee and Boyle County’s Miniard, as both teams combined for a lone run on five hits. In fact, the ballgame was scoreless up until the bottom half of the sixth frame.
In that decisive sixth inning, the Lady Rebels would score the only run of the night thanks to a single from Hasty, who hit a ball to left field to allow Hannah Chadwell to score. Despite having two runners on the base paths with no outs, one run would be the only damage done thanks to pair of nice plays by the Lady Maroon defense and a strikeout from McKee.
In the top of the seventh frame, the Lady Maroons would go down, one-two-three, giving Boyle County the hard-fought victory.
Pulaski just couldn’t seem to get the offense going, as they had only two hits in the setback. The night before, in a 12-2 victory over Southwestern, the Lady Maroons banged out 14 hits. The Lady Maroons’ two hits on the night came from McKala Blevins and McKayla Bryant.
A lot of the Lady Maroons’ troubles had to do with the hot-hand of Miniard, who finished the shutout victory with 14 strikeouts. The junior gave up a pair of hits in the contest.
McKee, in her final game in a Lady Maroon uniform, gave up three hits and struck out four batters in the loss. The only run that was scored in the entire game was unearned.
This evening’s 12th Region Championship game between Mercer County and Boyle County will get underway at 7 p.m. at Millennium Park in Danville.
PC 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 - 0 2 2
BC 0 0 0 0 0 1 X - 1 3 0
WP: Miniard (BC)
LP: McKee (PC)
RBI: Hasty (BC)