The Logan County Lady Cougars fell behind early but was able to come from behind with a walk off in their final at bat, 5-4 over Franklin-Simpson to win the Section 2 championship of the Class 2-A State Softball Tournament last Wednesday at Allen County-Scottsville High School.
“We did not get the job done last night against Todd County Central,” Lady Cougars’ head coach Gary Gettings said. “So I told them to make tonight your bounce back game. We didn’t harp on that game so let s f ish that away and let’s focus on the next one.”
In relief, Hailey Burgess picked up the win. She pitched 4.2 innings allowing no ruins on two hits with a strikeout.
“I have come in and pitched in these type of situations before,” Hailey Burgess said. “It is always good when the defense behind you makes big plays. All I had to do is relax and just pitch. Franklin-Simpson is a really good hitting tram so I had to make sure to spin the ball and that will lead to ground balls and pop ups. We were hungry for a win since we lost to Todd (County Central) and that was the kind of push to have some grit coming into this game.”
“Hailey (Burgess) did a great job in relief of Shayla (Johnson),” Lady Cougars’ head coach Gary Gettings said. ”To come in down three and to hold Franklin-Simpson where they were at was big. Really big for us.”
Logan County scored in their first at bat in the bottom of the 1st inning. With one out, Emerson McKinnis singled and Nora Epley reached base on an error. With runners at first and second, Trinity Case hit an RBI single that scored Keirsten Harper, courtesy runner for McKinnis, for a 1-0 lead.
Franklin-Simpson responded in a big way in the top of the 2nd. Maggie Brown led off the inning with a single then with two outs,m Allie Utley was hit by a pitch. Kaitlyn Woodall tied the game at 1-1 with an RBI single that scored Brown. Then on the very next pitch, Kloie Smith smashed a three run home run to left field that scored Utley, Woodall and herself for a 4-1 lead.
“I told the girls that we have been in this situation before,” Gettings said. “We played back to back games with Franklin-Simpson and Allen County-Scottsville and we were down and so we have done this before. Just had to re-emphasize that and they stepped up with some grinding at bats and kept their focus. I am super proud of them.”
The Lady Cats had an opportunity to add on more runs in the top of the 3rd as they had bases loaded. But they hit into a fielder s choice and a groundout that kept them scoreless.
The Lady Cougars started chipping away at their deficit as with two outs on a 2-1 count, McKinnis hit a solo home run to right field that made the score 4-2.
“I was just thinking of hitting a line drive in my at bat and get some runners on base to score some runs to get some momentum going,” Emerson McKinnis said. “I have not been hitting as great as I would like to be so my mentality is hitting line drives, do anything to make something happen. I just got a bat on it and the Lord took it over the fence.”
Logan County crept closer in the bottom of the 4th inning as with one out, Kinley Holloway hit a double. Then with two outs, Natalie Case hit an RBI single that scored Holloway as they pulled to within a run, 4-3.
The Lady Cougars tied the game at 4-4 in the bottom of the 5th as with two outs, Epley hit a single and was brought home on an RBI double by Trinity Case.
Neither team could get anything going in the 6th and Franklin-Simpson could not in the top of the 7th. That set the stage for Logan County in theory final at bat in the bottom of the 7th. With one out, McKinnis reached base on an error. She advanced to second on a passed ball and scored the Section 2 championship winning run on Epley’s RBI double for the 5-4 victory.
“It s an amazing feeling when you are able to do something like this,” Nora Epley said. “I am glad that I was able to provide for my team as I needed. It’s very exciting to play some really good teams outside of our region from all over the state now.”
“Just like the last time we played Franklin-Simpson, we got down but it is always a battle and it is never over,” Gettings said. “We fought back and I am so proud of them because we kept chipping and chipping away. This builds character because of the adversity we had to overcome to get this win.”
“It was a hard fought game and we have been in several of those,” Lady Cats’ head coach Todd Caudill said. “We got to learn how to win these type of games. Got to get tougher mentally and do whatever we have to do to get some runs across. We’re maturing, coming together. We had some momentum going but it got snuffed out and that gave them some life. Didn’t work out for us but it is part of the process of growing together as a team.Tough loss and I hope we grow from this.”
Trinity Case, Nora Epley and Emerson McKinnis each led the team with two hits while Trinity Case had two RBI and McKinnis scored two runs.
The Lady /Cougars will play the Christian Academy-Louisville Lady Centurions, from the 28th District of the 7th Region, in their opening round game of the Class 2-A State Softball Tournament at 2 p.m. at Jack C. Fisher Park in Owensboro.
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