FALMOUTH – The Mason County softball team knew they had a tough draw entering the 10th Region Tournament on Sunday.
The Lady Royals hung around for two innings in their quarterfinal matchup, before the bats of Bourbon County started putting runs on the board to come away with a 9-0 victory.
“We put the ball in play quite a bit, but hit it right at people and they made the plays,” said Mason County coach Adam Sapp. “That’s what you’re supposed to do, and they did that tonight.”
Mason County fell to the Lady Colonels in five innings earlier in the year, 13-0, but kept it a scoreless game heading into the third inning. Bourbon County stranded two runners in the first before Lexy Cooper pitched a 1-2-3 second inning, and Mason County got a runner on in each of the first two innings. In the first it was on a double from Emily Huber, while in the second it was a single from Hannah Adkins.
But it was Bourbon breaking through in the third when Kaylyn Barnett scored on a double from Hannah McCord. Jules Johnson tripled two batters later, scoring McCord for the 2-0 advantage.
“Early in the year, we were a first, second and third inning team. We jumped on teams early. As the year has gone, teams have learned how to pitch to us. Now we, after one time through the lineup, we have to adjust to them now instead of them adjusting to us and usually we’re a third, fourth, fifth inning type of team,” said Bourbon County coach Tony Sosby.
“I’d love to score in the first or second inning, but when we don’t the girls don’t panic because they know second or third time – I feel like, personally, we’re probably the best hitting team in the region. Personally. And I’m just giving credit where it is,” added Sosby. “The girls – we’re just a really good hitting team. Any time we don’t get double-digits hits in a game, somebody’s pitched a really good ballgame or they’ve played good defense.”
The Lady Colonels added four more in the fourth, starting on a walk of Kyra Curtis, who scored on an overthrown ball. Grace Hardy singled home Bourbon County’s fourth run, McCord drove in the fifth with a single and Johnson hit a double to left to make it 6-0.
Bourbon County added a little more insurance the next inning on an RBI double from Sydney Norman that scored Curtis, and added two more in the top of the seventh on a ball hit by Angie Snapp and a triple from Barnett, making it 9-0.
“We knocked a few hard hit balls down, kept them in the infield and it probably kept them from a couple extra runs in spots,” said Sapp. “Really, really did a good job keeping the ball in the infield more often than not, but they scored a lot of runs – just found gaps that we didn’t find and that’s just the way it goes sometimes.”
Meanwhile, Katie Fister hadn’t allowed a hit after the second inning and had only walked one batter in the game. She finished with six strikeouts in six innings, before being replaced by Alyssa Nicholls in the seventh inning. Nicholls retired all three batters she faced in the frame to close out the victory and land Bourbon County to the semifinals against Harrison County.
“We’re a fairly well-rounded team. Defensively we’re solid and offensively we are,” said Sosby. “If our pitching can do her job, and basically she has this year, we’re not going to get run-ruled most of the time and we’re going to keep ourselves in the games because, if offensively we don’t have it going, you’re not going to score many because we’re going to catch it and throw it.”
The Lady Colonels, who improve their 10th Region-leading record to 26-10, will play the second semifinal game on Monday, scheduled to begin at 7 p.m.
Mason County closes out the season with a 6-27 record, after claiming the 39th District title last week. They expect to return their entire team from this season as they have no seniors on the roster.
“We’re young, so we build on what happened this year hopefully and only improve upon it next year,” said Sapp. “Obviously, that’s the ultimate goal.”
2B- Huber (MC), McCord (BC), Johnson (BC), Norman (BC)
3B- Barnett (BC), Johnson (BC)
RBI- (BC) Johnson 2, McCord 2, Norman, Snapp, Barnett, Hardy
LOB- Mason County 3, Bourbon County 8
WP- Fister. LP- Cooper.
Records: Mason County 6-27, Bourbon County 26-10