The Oldham County High School softball team took advantage of five fielding miscues by Gallatin County and rolled to a 7-1 victory Wednesday night in the Eighth Region Tournament final.
The Colonels (33-5) advance to the State Tournament for the second straight year. They will play the Mercy-Butler winner in the first round.
“They made some errors that kind of helped,” said Oldham County coach Steve Leanhart. “They played deep on us and we tried to hit the gaps. We tried to keep the ball down.”
Oldham County made its first mark in the top of the second, as Ryane Shelton delivered a two-out RBI single to center, bringing Kirsten Smith home from third.
The Colonels took complete control with three runs in the third. With one out, Cynthia Leaton doubled to left field and Taylor Sheller singled to center. Madison Reed then hit a shot to center field, and it rolled past Emily Marksberry to the fence. Briana Cook, pinch-running for Leaton, and Sheller scored.
Next, Elizabeth Reinbold grounded out to second base and Reed scored, giving Oldham County a comfortable 4-0 cushion.
The Colonels added single runs in the next three innings and built a 7-0 lead before Gallatin County scored in the bottom of the sixth.
In the top of the fourth, Shelton singled and eventually scored on a bases-loaded infield single by Sheller. In the fifth, Jessica Leanhard delivered a sacrifice fly to center, scoring Reinbold. In the sixth, Kayla Brayton took her turn with a sacrifice fly to center, scoring pinch-runner Allison Davidson.
Leanhart said the Colonels are ready for the state tourney after playing a tough regular-season slate, including games against No. 1 Greenwood and most of the best teams in Louisville.
“We have high expectations, and they (the players) do, too,” said Leanhart, who is 97-20 in his three years at Oldham County. “We have a shot.”
Jessica Leanhart (29-5), the coach’s daughter, threw all seven innings for the Colonels and allowed six hits.
“I really didn’t hit my spots tonight,” she said. “Our defense behind me really stepped up. I’m really confident in our defense.”
She said this Oldham County team is more confident.
“We know we can go far at State,” she said. “Now we know what it takes. … Ballard, Mercy — all those games got us ready.”
Oldham Co….013 111 0 – 7 10 2
Gallatin Co….000 001 0 – 1 6 5
WP – Leanhart. LP – D. Nichelson. 2B – Dossett (GC), Satchwell (GC), Leaton (OC). Records – Oldham County 33-5, Gallatin County 20-2.