Nothing has come easy to Boyle County so far in the 12th Region Tournament.
And the Rebels found themselves in another squeaker Monday, getting an RBI single for Heather Hasty in the bottom of the sixth inning that stood for a 1-0 win over Pulaski County in the semifinals at Millennium Park.
Now all Boyle (29-11) has to do is beat a Mercer County team for the third time this season to claim its first regional title.
Boyle junior Hannah Miniard held the Maroons (15-24) to two hits and struck out 14 and walked one. She struck out at least two batters in six of the seven innings to earn the win.
“She pitched a fantastic game, and now we’ve got get ourselves ready to go for tomorrow,”Ã?Â¿Boyle coach Brian Deem said. “It’s going to be a tough one.”
Pulaski pitcher Brittany McKee kept Boyle off-balance all night until the Rebels were finally able to get to her in the sixth inning.
Hannah Chadwell, who made a diving catch in the top of the inning to take away a hit, slapped an opposite-field single to left on a 3-2 pitch. She came around to third when Lauren Richards’ bunt was thrown away at first.
Hasty then stepped up and with two strikes punched a hit into center to bring Chadwell home for a 1-0 lead with no outs, but Boyle was not able to push across another run.
“That last at-bat I just relaxed more,”Ã?Â¿Hasty said. “That is my problem, just being relaxed.”
McKee didn’t give Boyle a chance to relax, giving up just one hit until the sixth.
“We faced McKee in a scrimmage, our first scrimmage, and we put the bat on the ball,”Ã?Â¿Deem said. “But she did a good job of keeping the ball off the plate and did a really good job of staying disciplined. We chased a lot of bad pitches, but we were able to get a good pitch to hit with Hannah, and she was able to find a way to get on. Then Lauren executed a great bunt and were able to get ourselves in a good first and third.
“And Heather’s been fantastic for us this year, she’s had some big hits in the postseason and late in the year. And she was able to muscle on in there, it was a two-strike count, she shortened the swing, and that’s our whole purpose with two strikes just try to find something to get through the infield. And we did that, and that was big for her.”
That run gave Miniard just enough breathing room, then she slammed the door on the Maroons’ four, five and six hitters in the seventh.
She struck out McKala Blevins and Sarah Howard looking, then got Taylor Brock to ground out to third to end the game.
While Miniard dominated the Pulaski hitters, she did get some help in the field.
In the fourth, McKee walked, but courtesy runner Taylor Whitaker was thrown out by Hasty trying to steal second.
In the fifth, Brock hit a blooper over first that Lindsey Edwards dove to try and catch. She regrouped in time to get the ball and throw Brock out at first.
The biggest play may have come in the top of the sixth, however when Chadwell came running in on Kendra Hyden’s fly to short left and dove to make the catch to take away a sure single.
12th Region Tournament
At Millennium Park
Pulaski County 000 000 0 — 0 2 2
Boyle County 000 001 x — 1 3 0
Brittany McKee and McKala Blevins. Hannah Miniard and Heather Hasty. W—Miniard. L—McKee.