If revenge is sweet then Magoffin County’s sweep of Spencer County Monday night must have been even better than any icing on the cake.
Sent to the losers’ bracket of the 16-under all-star tournament one day earlier by Spencer County, Magoffin County roared back to claim a sweep and the championship of the East Kentucky State Tournament.
“I’m so proud of them,” coach Steve Howard said of the local softball all-stars.
“They played their hearts out,” he added. “They left it all on the field. They just would not give up. They weren’t gonna accept anything but winning.”
After falling in the first game Sunday, Magoffin County advanced to the championship round by whipping Whitley County 11-3.
Needing two wins over the previously unbeaten Spencer County squad, Magoffin County evened the playing field with a mercy win in Monday’s first affair.
And with the title hanging in the balance, the local squad raced out to an early advantage and walked away champions when Brandi Howard’s throw to Cassandra Salyer cut down a potential tying run in the final inning, giving Magoffin County a 9-8 victory in the finale.
“The girls did great,” Howard said. “If we made a mistake we just kept grinding. Any time somebody looked like they were getting down everyone picked them back up.
“It was a total team effort. You could just tell that this team wanted a title and they didn’t stop playing until they got it.”
After averaging 18 runs in its first three games, Magoffin County broke out the big bats in its first meeting with Spencer County Sunday, scoring six times in its first two at bats and grabbing an early four-run advantage.
But Spencer County, the team that eliminated Magoffin County from this same tournament in 2008, had some major offensive ways itself.
An eight-run second inning was all Spencer County needed to hang an 11-7 loss on Magoffin County and bringing about the need to survive a losers’ bracket trip.
With leadoff hitter Brandi Howard setting the table and people like Cassandra Salyer, LeAnna Mullins, and Paige Fletcher clearing the dishes, Magoffin County scored struck for two runs in the first and four more in the second en route to the easy win over Whitley County.
Howard, who crossed the plate three times, scored in the first along with Chelsey Cole as Salyer and Cole recorded big hits.
Howard and Cole scored in the second when Salyer, Mullins, who also crossed the plate in the second, and Fletcher collected three straight doubles.
Cole, who pitched every tournament inning for Magoffin County, allowed just one earned run on five hits while striking out six.
In Monday’s first game, Magoffin County shook off a one-run deficit with a five-run second inning and was never really challenged the remainder of the way.
Brandi Howard was again on base regularly, and circled them for three runs. Paige Fletcher and Paige Howard crossed the plate twice.
With a single apiece, Salyer and Kasey Williams helped power a three-run first inning, getting Magoffin County off to a strong start when Katie Shepherd, Cole, and Salyer singled.
Spencer County rallied to tie the game at three before Magoffin County scored what would prove to be the game winning runs in a six-run fifth inning.
Magoffin County advanced to the Ohio Valley National Regional, which will begin next week in Louisville. No exact times and opponents were available at press time but the local squad is expected to start play next Thursday.