Playing confidently from the first pitch, the underdog Patriots nabbed a 3-2 win over homestanding Boone, a surprising Region 1-AAA semifinal outcome that put a screeching halt to the memorable 44-7 season of the Trailblazers.
"Sometimes you just, you get beat," said veteran Boone coach Jeremy Jenkins. "And, uh, we got beat. We didn't give anything to them — they just beat us.
"And you can live with that, as opposed to giving a game away. They came up here and got after us. About all you can say is that it didn't go our way."
The victory extends the season for Jeff County (20-10), which will travel again today when it faces District 2 rival Morristown East for the Region 1 crown and a subsequent sub-state home game.
FAST START THE DIFFERENCE
The Patriots plated single runs in each of the first two innings to snare a quick 2-0 lead that essentially held up all afternoon.
Jeff County had only three base hits off losing pitcher Megan Ackerman, but all three were bunched over the first two innings to fuel the Patriots' early success.
Santanna Hall plated Jeff County's second run with a two-out single to right center, after a bases-loaded walk to Catelyn Riley scored the game's first run.
"They came out and they were the aggressor," Jenkins allowed. "We knew going in that the key that we had to keep their 2-hole hitter (Makayla Alvey) off the bases, but she gets on twice and scores twice."
Boone cut the deficit to 2-1 in the fourth, when Jaycie Jenkins doubled and then raced home due to an overthrow error on an infield single by Ackerman.
The Patriots immediately got the run back for a 3-1 lead in the fifth, when Alvey walked, stole second, and scored on a Erica Lewanski groundout.
RILEY RULES 'EM
The winning pitcher was Riley, a 5-foot-10 right-handed sophomore who allowed five hits, struck out six and walked four.
Boone made it a 3-2 game in the fifth when Makenna Dance walked and scored on a sinking, one-out Greyson Stevens single that got past Jeff County's charging outfielder for a two-base error.
However, the Trailblazers were not able score again, first leaving Stevens at third base, before following up a pair of singles to open the bottom of the sixth with two fly outs an a strikeout. In the seventh, Riley set 'em down 1-2-3.
Riley had seen plenty of the 'Blazers despite her youth, having beaten them 7-5 here two weeks ago and 2-1 in an invitational tournament last spring.
"She knows the expectations and she came out and gave what we need," said Jeff County coach Hillary Love. "And our defense was very good behind her.
"When he (Coach Jenkins) asked me if we wanted to play (during the regular season), I told we'd come to him. I'd never won here and this place can be intimidating with those bleachers sitting up high like that. I wanted our girls to be more comfortable here just in case we had to come back for the region."
JEFFERSON COUNTY 3, DANIEL BOONE 2
Jefferson County - 110 010 0 - 3 3 2
Daniel Boone - 000 110 0 - 2 5 1
Riley and Reish; Ackerman and Hubbard. W - Riley. L - Ackerman. HR - none.