LEXINGTON — Four games into Scott County’s softball season, Frederick Douglass rallied for a walk-off win on its home field, unceremoniously ending the Cardinals’ 60-game, 12-year-old, undefeated run against district opponents.
Eight weeks have passed, and SC has been abundantly clear that it had no interest in letting an even greater milestone — winning every 42nd District championship since moving over from the 32nd in 2006 — dissolve into sand.
SC guarded that history with an iron fist, hammering Henry Clay, 11-1, in Monday evening’s semifinals before dismantling Douglass for the second time in 11 days, 12-5, in Tuesday’s title tilt on the Broncos’ farm.
That’s five come-from-behind wins over Douglass in the past two seasons for SC (15-17 overall, 7-1 district) and 15 district championships in 15 tries, if you’re counting.
“At least I didn’t break that streak,” first-year SC coach Billy James quipped.
Two starting seniors on a roster with almost no prior playoff experience saw to that.
Kaylie Wise was 5-for-7 with a double and eight RBIs, the latter total evenly split between the two games, and was named most valuable player of the tournament. Lexie Roby went 5-for-8, including a double and run scored in the title game and an RBI in the opener.
It was timely redemption for University of Pikeville signee Roby, who had been mired in a 1-for-18 slump that dropped her batting average to a still team-leading .349.
“I told her, ‘Listen, it’s a cut the head off the snake scenario. You’re going to be the snake, figure out a way to lead, and we’re going to follow.’ She did a good job,” James said.
Ada Little struck out a total of 19 in the two games and joined Wise and Roby on the all-tournament team along with Delaney Vaughn and Emma Price, each of whom had three hits in the championship contest.
Scott County took the lead for good with a six-run inning in both games. Against Henry Clay (11-24, 0-7), the Cardinals sent 10 batters to the plate in immediate response to the Blue Devils’ lone run in the top of the first.
Douglass grabbed a 2-0 advantage before SC pulled even in the fourth and broke it open an inning later.
“I told them we got in coast mode a little bit,” James said. “(We expect) they’re not going to score six on Ada.”
Consecutive singles by Price, Wise and Vaughn set the table for the equalizers against Douglass. Little put the Cards on the board with a sacrifice fly, and Kenley Ison tied it with an RBI groundout.
SC’s entire fifth-inning flourish unfolded with two out. Roby and Price singled and scored on Wise’s go-ahead double. Vaughn matched that two-bagger to trade places with Wise. The Broncos then mishandled Little’s hard grounder to make it 6-2.
Ison and Ellie Price smacked back-to-back doubles to apply the finishing touch.
Douglass (17-15, 6-2) wasn’t done. Back-to-back homers by Kayleigh Bell and Alyssa Wade cut the lead in half. Little issued a pair of walks before whiffing Krissa Van Schoyck to escape the fracas.
The Cardinals matched the Broncos’ three runs plus an extra for dessert in their final trip to the plate. Wise delivered a two-run single after a double by Roby and single Emma Price.
Vaughn made it four consecutive hits to set up a sacrifice fly from Ison and an RBI single by Ellie Price.
“We felt we could handle their pitching no problem and that they struggle with our pitching,” James said, “I think we had 13 strikeouts last time. We had to keep Kasia (Parks, 0-for-2, two runs scored) off the bases. She is really good.”
The previous night, Roby (single) and Emma Price (walk) set the tone for Wise’s two-run, go-ahead single against Henry Clay.
Little and Ison also had RBIs in the rally.
Two additional runs scored when the Blue Devils mishandled a ball hit by Jenna McMillan.
Scott County will host Franklin County in the 11th Region quarterfinals at 2 p.m. Saturday.
Kal Oakes can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.