They won their softball district 17 years in a row. Now, there’s a changing of the guard.

The 42nd District high school softball tournament’s outcome has rarely been in doubt.

Since Scott County moved into the division from the 8th Region in 2006, every district title has gone to the Cardinals.

But there will be a new 42nd champ in 2024.

Frederick Douglass, a program that had only beaten Scott County twice in its seven-year history and was swept by the Cardinals this season, routed the 17-time defending district champions 11-1 on Tuesday in the tournament semifinals at Bryan Station High School.

“This is one of the biggest things that could possibly go for us,” Douglass sophomore catcher Haylee Lefever said. “It’s definitely a big win for us and I’m ready to come back tomorrow night and try to win it all.”

Frederick Douglass, led by head coach Jason McGuire, second from right, celebrated defeating Scott County 11-1 in the 42nd District softball tournament semifinals at Bryan Station High School on Tuesday.
Frederick Douglass, led by head coach Jason McGuire, second from right, celebrated defeating Scott County 11-1 in the 42nd District softball tournament semifinals at Bryan Station High School on Tuesday.

Lefever helped spark a five-run second inning with a two-run double down the left-field line. Jarynn Bowman walked and Riley Baker singled ahead of her. Haley McGuire’s RBI single brought in Ava Prater, Lefever’s courtesy runner. A walk to Aaliyah Long set up another two-run base hit, this time by Jorden Bowman for a 5-0 lead.

“This is my third game back from injury and I’ve been in a little bit of a slump, so coming back and being able to start the run for my team was very good,” Lefever said. “I’m proud of myself and I’m proud of my team for the win tonight.”

In the circle for Douglass, Haley McGuire allowed only one hit, a solo home run to Karsyn Preston in the fourth inning. She struck out three, walked six and got a couple of key double plays from her defense to thwart Scott County (16-10) rallies.

“Like I told you earlier in the year, we’re trying to change the culture of this team,” first-year Douglass coach Jason McGuire said. “Setting the right pace, making sure we’re doing the right things. We came to work today.”

Douglass scored six more runs in the sixth inning to establish an 11-1 mercy rule margin to shorten the game. Kyleigh Curtis led off with a double and Lefever walked ahead of McGuire’s two-run single with one out. Long followed with her 11th home run of the season, a two-run shot. Then came back-to-back RBI doubles by Jorden Bowman and Emma Dunn. Dunn scored the last run of the rally on a wild pitch.

That’s quite an offensive output for a team Scott County beat 11-4 in 10 innings on March 22 and 12-2 in six innings on April 25. A change of approach at the plate was key, Coach McGuire said.

“We struggled as coaches to figure out what was the best plan of attack, and we executed it to a tee,” Coach McGuire said.

Douglass (17-13) was scheduled to face tournament host Bryan Station in Tuesday’s district championship game. The Defenders, 11-0 winners over Henry Clay in Monday’s semifinals, earned the tournament’s top seed via tiebreaker despite losing both regular season games to the Broncos.

“The two games we had previously with them don’t matter,” Coach McGuire said. “We’re going to go out and battle and do the best we can.”

Tuesday’s 43rd District games

Lafayette 10, Tates Creek 6: The Generals (19-14) built a 5-0 lead in the early going and matched the Commodores run-for-run in the fifth and sixth innings to advance to Wednesday’s 43rd District finals at Paul Laurence Dunbar where they will try for a third straight title.

Rylan Music led Lafayette with a pair of hits, including a solo home run and had a sacrifice fly among her three RBI. Anna Clay Denton went 3-for-3 with two runs scored and two RBI. Brynna Harris also knocked in two and scored.

Tinley Easton hit a two-run homer in the fifth for Tates Creek (14-20), which also got RBI from Alexis Bazzell and SaNiyah Joyce.

Lexington Catholic 15, Paul Laurence Dunbar 0 (3 innings): Ava Emmert had two hits, including a double, and drove in four runs while pitcher Abby Hammond homered and doubled with three RBI for the Knights (22-2). LexCath scored 14 runs in the second inning to pull away to a mercy-rule shortened win over the Bulldogs (7-18).

Monday’s 42nd District game

Bryan Station 11, Henry Clay 0 (5 innings): Pitcher Karsyn Rockvoan struck out 12, allowed no hits and was one of three players to have two RBI for the Defenders (18-11) against Henry Clay (3-25). Adrienn Acure and Audrey Greenberg also knocked in two runs. Tiahna Bowman, Kynedi Birdsong and DeAsya Lewis each scored twice.

Henry Clay rallies for 42nd District baseball crown; Lexington Catholic repeats in 43rd