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Softball out-duels Owen Co. 1-0

May 24, 2018 GMT

With Carroll County’s Andrea Searcy and Owen County’s Katelyn Parker pitching a pair of three hitters, an unearned run in the top of the first inning was all the Panthers ultimately needed to close out a 1-0 win in the 31st District softball championship game on Wednesday in New Castle, Kentucky. Playing at Henry County High School, Searcy struck out 11 and walk one while scattering Owen’s three hits while Parker struck out six and walked one while limiting Carroll to just three safeties as both pitchers went the distance in a duel from start to finish. Carroll scored the only run the Panthers needed in its first trip to the plate. The Panthers led off the top of the first with a walk by Bailey Mefford and a single by Allie Beach before an Owen County error put Searcy on first to load the bases. Ciara Hamilton took a strike looking before finding a pitch she liked and driving a single up the middle to score Mefford with what would be the game winner. Owen tried to answer in the bottom of the first when Baileigh Young reached second base on a leadoff error by the Carroll shortstop Mefford and advanced to third on Parker’s one-out single. However, Searcy fanned the next two batters on six straight pitches to douse the rally. The next six innings belonged to the defense as the pitchers dueled through six shutout innings that included just eight more baserunners - five by Owen on a walk, two singles and two Carroll errors and three by Carroll on a pair of errors and a single - the rest of the way. After the single to Parker in the first, Searcy kept Owen hitless until the bottom of the fourth when Miranda Willhoite singled but she was stranded at second base following a sacrifice bunt and a strikeout to end the inning. The only real threat Carroll faced was in the bottom of the sixth when the Rebels put two runners on after another Willhoite single and an error put Young and Willhoite at second and first before Searcy came back with a strikeout on McKenzie Edgett for the third out. The Panthers had two on in the top of the seventh - Hailey Austin reached on a one-out error before Bailey Stewart singled to put runners at the corners - but Parker shut the Panthers down with a strikeout and a fly out. Carroll County’s Searcy, Hamilton, Beach and Kaitlynn Gaddis were all named to the all-tourney team. Carroll (12-9-1) and Owen (10-8) both advance to the Eighth Region tournament starting on Monday at Henry County. The tourney draw is tentatively scheduled for Sunday.