The Russell County Middle School softball team advanced to the Central Kentucky Middle School Athletic Conference (CKMSAC) finals on Thursday.
RCMS (15-4) defeated Adair County 11-1 in the conference semifinals before falling to top-seeded Clinton County by a score of 4-1.
After the tournament, RCMS eighth-grader Rylen McGowan was named CKMSAC Player of the Year.
RCMS vs. ACMS
The Lady Lakers jumped out to a quick 1-0 lead over the Lady Indians after the first inning, with Madelyn Roy driving home Miley Rankins.
RCMS broke the game open in the second inning, scoring five runs to push their lead to 6-0. Chezney Burton and Emma Wilson each scored on a Kaelyn Campbell single. Camdin Cooper hit a sac fly to bring home Chloe Coffey, followed by Campbell and Addy Abrell scoring on a double by McGowan.
After a scoreless third inning for both teams, ACMS shortstop Lilly Myers scored for the Lady Indians in the top of the fourth to cut their deficit to 6-1, but RCMS plated five runs in the bottom of the frame to force the 10-run rule and end the game after four innings.
Scoring in the fourth for RCMS were Caroline Coffey, Abrell, Rankins, McGowan, and Roy.
The Lady Lakers accumulated 12 total hits for the game — with multi-hit performances by Abrell, Cooper, McGowan, and Roy — while the Lady Indians had five hits in the contest, with Myers tallying multiple hits.
Burton picked up the win in the pitcher’s circle, striking out four batters while allowing five hits and one unearned run.
RCMS vs. Clinton County
Directly after RCMS’ win, they moved on to face Clinton County in the championship game. The two had met twice in the regular season, with the Lady Lakers losing both games.
Clinton County held RCMS scoreless through four innings while scoring four runs themselves.
RCMS looked poised to make a comeback in the fifth inning, loading the bases with only one out.
McGowan hit a sac fly to left field to bring home Campbell and cut the Lady Lakers’ deficit to 4-1.
Roy drew a walk to once again load the bases for RCMS but the team was unable to bring home any more runs.
In the bottom of the inning, RCMS showcased feats of defensive brilliance. Abrell completed a double play moments after getting injured, making a diving catch and throwing out a runner at first base who didn’t tag.
Coffey followed that up by fielding a grounder and making a smooth throw to first for the third out.
RCMS put one base runner on in the sixth and final frame but couldn’t score, with the final tally staying at 4-1.
After the game, head coach Mike Scott said he was proud of his team’s season and relayed to his players how talented this group is.
“I don’t know that I’ve coached a team where your first 12 or 13 players would have probably started for almost every team that you played,” head coach Mike Scott said. “It’s hard to even get them in our game … They’re just a great group of girls.”
Scott said he knew the team was “special” even in the beginning of the season, but what impressed him the most was how the team kept improving throughout the year.
“The longer the season went on, the better we got,” Scott said. “‘What are we going to do next?’ is kind of what you were thinking as a coach. You usually don’t see that kind of growth. You usually peak out, but … these girls just kept getting better.”