MONTICELLO — Pulaski pitcher Jessica Randolph withstood immense pressure from the Danville Lady Admirals on the diamond and some distractions off the diamond, as the Lady Maroons downed Danville 5-2 in the 12th Region Tournament semifinals. The win put the Lady Maroons in the championship game, which will be played today at 5 p.m., and one game away from a trip to Louisville for the softball state championship.

Although Randolph only allowed two runs scored off five Danville base hits — six Lady Maroon fielding errors made every inning an adventure defensively for Pulaski.

In the first, third and fifth innings, Danville had two runners on base and only one out. But in all three of those innings, Randolph would strike out the next two batters to close the innings out. Randolph would record 10 strikeouts for the game, but those six to close out innings — one, three and five — were huge.

“I work better under pressure than with no pressure,” Randolph said. “It’s better for me to have pressure, than none at all.”

But if the constant Danville base runners weren't enough pressure for the hard-throwing Randolph, she got even more distracted after she watched her 10-year-old sister, who was sitting directly behind the home plate backstop as a spectator, get hit hard by a foul ball.

“I was little nervous, because I thought Samantha was hurt and it distracted me a little bit, but I was all right once I saw she wasn’t hurt,” Randolph said.

While Randolph was controlling the game defensively, her Lady Maroon teammates helped her out offensively with all nine of their batters reaching base safely.

In the first inning, Danville had runners on second and third with one out, before Randolph struck out the next two batters.

Then in the bottom of the first, Randolph tripled to center to score K.K. Holman, who was running for Cassandra Foster. Miranda Begley doubled to centerfield to score Randolph to put the Lady Maroons up 2-0.

“The first inning played out really well, even though (Danville) got a couple of runners on base— but we were able to make a couple of plays to get out of it,” Pulaski coach Scott Taylor said. “Then, we come in to throw up two runs right off the top of the bat, which gave us that mental edge.”

“Had it been reversed, I am not so certain we could come out of it,” Taylor explained. “ We got the lead first and we found a way to keep the lead and add on to it.”

Danville did their damage offensively in the third inning when Christina Hill hit a bases-loaded single to score Jerrica Potts and Kelly Embree. But, as usual, Randolph struck out the next two Danville batters to end the inning.

The Lady Maroons threatened to score in the third, but Mackenzie Tilley was thrown out at home trying to score off a Cassandra Foster double and her pinch-runner, Courtney Black, was called out on a early tag off a Randolph fly out.

However, Pulaski was able to put two runs on the board in the fourth inning. Sarah Wilson singled to centerfield to score Begley and Morgan Fulcher had a bases-loaded ground out to score Wilson.

With a 4-2 lead, the Lady Maroons got one more in the bottom of the sixth when Lori Patton singled to centerfield to score Holman, who was pinch-running for Kristen Dowell.

“That last run in the bottom of the sixth inning was huge, because that meant (Danville) would have to get four hitters up to go ahead of us and it got us back up to the top of our batting order — had they tied us or went ahead,” Taylor explained.

Randolph had her only 1-2-3 inning of the game in the last inning — thanks to two tough infield grounder putouts by Holman and a line shot putout by Lori Patton.

The Lady Maroons had 10 hits in their 5-2 win, but they recorded six fielding errors in the game to make Randolph’s job a little tougher.

“It was nerve-racking,” Randolph said. “It makes me nervous about tomorrow’s championship game, but I have confidence in all my girls and I know we can do it.”

First-year coach Scott Taylor had mixed emotions about the win, but is looking forward to the 12th Region championship game.

“We had a bunch of errors and it was a very ugly win, but we never gave up,” Taylor said. “ We have been trying to get the girls in the mentality that once the play is gone — the play is gone.”

“We believe that stating back at February 15, that we had a shot to get to tomorrow night’s regional championship game,” Taylor said. “We worked hard to accomplish that goal.”

“It wasn’t pretty, but it was good enough to get to the next game,” he said.

Foster and Begley would led the Lady Maroons offensively, as both girls hit 2-for-3 at the plate. Foster had a single, a double and was responsible for one run scored. Begley had two doubles and she scored a run.

The Lady Maroons (26-12) will face West Jessamine (21-10) in the championship game today at 5 p.m. at Wayne County High School. Unlike Pulaski, West Jessamine has breezed through the regional tournament with a 13-3 win over Lincoln County in the opening round and a 6-1 win over Rockcastle County in the semifinals.

DHS 0 0 2 0 0 0 0 — 2 5 2

PC 2 0 0 2 0 1 x — 5 10 6

2B —Foster, Begley 2. 3B — Randolph. RBI — Randolph, Begley, Wilson, Fulcher, Patton. WP —Randolph. LP — Wallace.

This Week's Circulars