Boyle, Garrard win to set up title rematch

Published 1:24 am Wednesday, May 29, 2019

NICHOLASVILLE – Boyle County and Garrard County have had many memorable battles on the softball field over the years, but they have never faced off for a regional championship. That changes tonight.

Boyle and Garrard will meet in the 12th Region Tournament finals for the first time after both teams won their semifinal games Tuesday night at East Jessamine.

Boyle (29-6) defeated East Jessamine 4-3 to keep its bid for a third straight regional title alive, and earlier Garrard (28-4) defeated West Jessamine 9-6 to move a step closer to its first title since 2009.

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They will meet at 7 p.m. today at East Jessamine for the championship.

“It will be an absolute intense game, and I’d say that anyone who misses that game, that’s their fault because it’s going to be a very interesting game,” Garrard catcher Katy Pozzuto said.

The teams split their two meetings this season, with Garrard winning 12-4 in the 45th District final about a month after Boyle won their only regular-season meeting 8-4.

“He’s got some kids that can hit, and they put it to us in the district championship,” Boyle coach Brian Deem said. “We’ve got something to prove to ourselves and an opportunity to redeem ourselves, and we’ll have to wait and see how it all plays out.”

Boyle has played in five of the past seven regional title games, but Garrard has been in only one final since 2009 – that was in 2016, when the Lady Lions lost to East Jessamine.

“We’re just happy to be there. We don’t care who it is,” Garrard coach Todd Montgomery said. “I know the fans want to see it, but we’re happy with whoever we play.”

This is the first meeting in the regional finals between Boyle and Garrard, but they are familiar with facing each other in title games. They have met in the past seven 45th District finals.

One of the two teams has played in nine of the last 12 regional finals, and they have six championships between them. Garrard won the first two regional titles for an area team in 2008 and ’09, and Boyle has won in 2012, ’13, ’17 and ’18.

Boyle County 4, East Jessamine 3 – Keely Bowling hit a solo home run to left field in the sixth inning to lift Boyle over East Jessamine in a rematch of last year’s regional final.

Bowling went deep with one out in the inning off Kaylee Terral to complete the Rebels’ comeback from a 3-0 deficit.

“We’d been working on a game plan, and Kaylee put a ball right where we were wanting it and Keely jumped on it and did what she can do: she tattooed it,” Deem said. “It looked like the same pitch that Katy got a hold of, too.”

That would be Katy Grace Chadwell, whose solo home run to center field kick-started the three-run third inning Boyle used to tie the game. Terral had retired the first seven Boyle batters and 10 of the first 11 before that homer.

Bowling followed with a double, and she scored on Kyndal Honaker’s single to right field. Honaker moved up to third base on the throw home, then scored when the throw back to third went into left field.

Bowling had two hits for Boyle, which totaled only five.

East Jessamine (21-9) had four hits, with half of them coming in its three-run second inning. The big blow for the Lady Jaguars was a two-out, three-run double by Allie Lane.

“Katy settled down, and she gave us a spark with the solo shot. She had to grind it out tonight, and that’s what seniors do,” Deem said.

The Lady Jaguars got only one more hit the rest of the night off Chadwell, who struck out eight batters and walked six. Chadwell pitched out of a bases-loaded jam in the fifth inning and stranded nine East Jessamine runners in all. The Lady Jaguars got a leadoff walk in the seventh inning before she retired the next three batters.

Garrard County 9, West Jessamine 6 – Garrard prevailed in a slugfest with West Jessamine (11-17), rallying with six runs on eight hits over the fourth, fifth and sixth innings to secure their spot in the finals.

 “It was a little tougher than we expected,” said Pozzuto, who hit a two-run home run in the sixth inning to cap Garrard’s comeback. “But every team that comes to the region, they’re always bringing their ‘A’ game, and every team has worked so hard to get where they are. It makes games a lot more interesting.”

The Lady Lions cranked out a total of 12 hits to defeat the Colts for the third time this season and reach the title game for the first time since 2016.

“I’m so proud of them for battling back,” Garrard coach Todd Montgomery said. “We had our chance to lay down, drop our heads, and they haven’t all year.”

West Jessamine took a 5-3 lead on Olivia Bryant’s two-run home run in the third inning after each team scored three times in the first.

Garrard got one run back in the fourth on Fran Montgomery’s two-out triple, then scored three times in the fifth to regain the lead and added two insurance runs in the sixth.

Addison Pevley’s two-out, two-run single gave the Lady Lions a 6-5 lead in the fifth, and she later scored on Kyla Bell’s single.

Pozzuto padded the Lady Lions’ lead an inning later when her screaming line drive just cleared the fence in left-center field.

“It was crazy, because I didn’t think I was going to get to hit again,” said Pozzuto, who was intentionally walked to lead off an inning in her previous plate appearance. “I took advantage of what I could get. I did not (think it would clear the fence, because) I didn’t think I had enough height on the ball.”

Pozzuto was 3 for 3 with a double and three RBIs for Garrard. Montgomery had a double and a triple, and Bell and Kelsey Perkins also had two hits each.

West Jessamine got eight hits off Perkins, who struck out seven batters with only one walk, but the Colts had only one hit after the third inning.