Chadwell walks off as Boyle County earns crucial district win over Garrard County

Katy Grace Chadwell knew exactly what she was looking for.

Chadwell was keeping an eye out for an inside pitch in her bid to drive in the winning run for the Boyle County softball team Tuesday night, and she knew what to do with it when it came her way.

The junior drove the pitch from up the middle for a walk-off single that gave the Rebels a 4-3 victory over Garrard County at Rebel Stadium.

“She’s been throwing in all game, so I knew it was coming. She’s a tough pitcher with the high stuff, but I knew what I was looking for,” Chadwell said.

Hailey Cannon scored from third base on Chadwell’s single off Garrard’s Kelsey Perkins to give Boyle, which is ranked No. 19 in the statewide coaches poll, the win in the only regular-season game between the area’s top two teams.

Boyle (10-7, 2-0 45th District) is in the driver’s seat for the No. 1 seed in the 45th District Tournament and can lock that spot up with a victory Thursday against Lincoln County.

Boyle tied the game with an unconventional rally in the sixth inning, scoring two runs without a hit. And after Cannon walked and Channing Whitehouse singled to open the bottom of the seventh, the Rebels were trying to get one of them home any way they could.

Both runners moved up on a passed ball and were at second and third with one out for Chadwell, who fouled off one attempt at a squeeze bunt before Deem took the bunt off and told her to swing away.

“We were looking to squeeze, and she’s a really good bunter … but I went back to her and said, ‘I’m going to let you swing the bat because that’s what you’re most comfortable with,’ and she was able to get a pitch she could drive and she hit it hard,” Deem said.

The Rebels avenged a loss to the Golden Lions in last year’s regular season meeting – Boyle won a rematch in the district tournament – and Chadwell said that made it a meaningful win.

“This is a huge win considering how we went down last year, but it’s a new season for us. They’re tough competition, and it’s a huge win for us,” she said.

The coaches for both teams said, however, they aren’t putting too much stock into a single game in mid-April.

“It puts us in the driver’s seat to be the No. 1 seed for the district tournament, which is always our first goal. But we won the region last year as a 3 seed in the district,” Deem said. “So the setup is nice, but this game doesn’t mean a whole lot. This is more for bragging rights.”

“Every loss is tough, especially in the district. But it’s April 17th, there’s a lot of softball left and this is a progression of where we want to be at,” Garrard coach Todd Montgomery said. “We’ve got a lot to learn. We made some mistakes we want to correct, they made some mistakes that they want to correct. It’s part of the process of getting where you want to be come tournament time.”

Garrard (12-3, 1-1) took a 3-1 lead in the fifth inning, which appeared to be over when a two-out popup in foul territory was dropped, giving Katy Pozzuto another chance at the plate. Pozzuto launched a triple to center field that scored Elle Montgomery and Kelsi Moss – both of whom singled with two outs – and she scored on an error on a relay throw.

In the Boyle sixth, Gracie Edmiston was hit by a pitch with one out, and pinch-runner Kelsea Hinkle scored on a two-out throwing error on Kelly Lay’s ground ball. Lay got three bases on the error, and she scored on a wild pitch on what would have been an inning-ending strikeout.

“We didn’t come to play (the way) I expect us to come to play. I think we did enough to survive, to keep it close and to pull it out in the end,” Deem said. “One thing we talk about is that (innings) five, six and seven are winning time for us, and our job is to keep it close. All I can tell the kids is to put the ball in play, and after that it’s out of our hands.”

Edmiston broke a scoreless tie in the fourth inning with a home run to center field. Mattie Robbins had two hits for Boyle, which had eight in all.

Montgomery had two of Garrard’s six hits.

Both pitchers – Boyle’s Chadwell and Garrard’s Perkins – struck out seven batters and walked two.

Garrard has won home games against Boyle twice in the last three years but hasn’t won a regular-season or postseason game at Boyle since 2014.

“Boyle County’s a good program, well coached, and it’s a tough game every time we play. We just can’t get over the bugaboo and get a win here,” Todd Montgomery said.