NICHOLASVILLE - The Lady Maroons (24-7) staged a dramatic 7th-inning comeback Monday in the 12th Region Tournament, but came up one run short, and fell 6-5 to Garrard County (27-4).
Trailing the Lady Lions 6-0 in their final at bat, it would have been easy for the Lady Maroons to hang their heads and end their season with a whimper.
But that wasn't the case, as they showed their mettle and came out fighting for their tournament lives.
After managing only four hits through they first six innings, the Lady Maroons collected eight consecutive clutch one-out base hits and scored five runs to pull within 6-5 and had the bases loaded.
But Garrard pitcher Perkins regrouped and retired the final two batters to get out of the jam and seal the win for the Lady Lions.
"Even though we got beat, we ended on a very positive note and I'm supper proud of the way they refused to quit and battled back got in a position to win the game," Pulaski coach Brad Gover said. "That comeback was unbelievable and that shows you the type of kids we've got coming back. And I'm going to tell you, we are going to be ready to go next year and we're going to be tough to beat."
The Lady Maroons had opportunities to score early in the contest, but came up empty.
Riley Hull was left stranded at third after a lead-off double in the first inning, and after a Vicky Countryman single, courtesy runner Taylor Young was stranded at second in the second inning.
The Lady Lions meanwhile, took advantage of the few mistakes that Pulaski County pitcher Kaylee Strunk made in the game to get on the board early.
Garrard County managed only five hits in the contest, but unfortunately for Strunk and the Lady Maroons, two of those were by catcher Katy Pozzuto, the state's leading home run hitter.
Following a one out walk in the first inning, Pozzuto lined a home run-- her 17th of the season,--over the right field fence to give Garrard a quick 2-0 lead.
In the fourth, Brynne Galloway doubled to right field, Gabby Montgomery walked, and two batters later, Perkins brought both home with a double off the right field fence to put the Lady Lions up 4-0.
Garrard County added two more in the fifth when Pozzuto blasted her 18th homer of the season deep over the left field fence to make it 6-0.
"We shouldn't have thrown to Pozzuto. But you're danged if you do, danged if you don't because they've got Perkins and Grace Freeman coming up next, and both are capable of going out of the park on you," Gover said. "Kaylee threw the ball well today. But Pozzuto isn't leading the state in home runs for nothing. If we had it to do over, yeah, we would probably have walked her."
It remained that way until the seventh, when Pulaski mounted a tremendous one-out comeback.
Strunk got the hit parade started by hustling to beat out an infield single.
Vicky Countryman drove the first pitch she saw to the center field fence to bring courtesy runner Taylor Young around from first to make it 6-1.
After Molli Nelson beat out another infield single, Riley Hull lined a triple off the right field fence to plate Countryman and Nelson to cut the deficit to 6-3.
Eva Gover made it five hits in a row with a single that brought Hull home to make it 6-4.
Gabby Countryman and Bella Ellis both singled to load the bases before Holly Barron picked up Pulaski's eighth hit in a row to plate Gover and pull the Lady Maroons to within 6-5.
But the threat ended when Perkins induced Dawn Wilson to hit into a fielder's choice comeback to the mound and struck out Strunk to end the game.
"I love the fight in this group. For them, it's never over. Never over," Gover said. "And that just speaks volumes for what's to come next year and the next."
Strunk went the distance in the circle for Pulaski, allowing only five hits, while striking out five batters and walking three.
Hull lead the way at the plate with a double, triple and two RBI.
Vicky Countryman added a single, double and RBI, Gover had a pair of singles and an RBI, Gabby Countryman had two singles, Barron had a single and RBI and Ellis, Nelson and Strunk had one single each.
The win was the Lady Lions' 14th win in a row and their third victory over Pulaski County on the season. Garrard has only lost to one 12th region team all season, an 8-4 setback to Boyle County in early April.