DRAFFENVILLE -- First-year Marshall County softball coach Mallory Newton doesn't have to look very far for team leadership.
She's got it in a host of players, but most especially Gracey Murt, Addie Young and Aubree Jo Kemp - who particularly starred on Friday night in a pivotal 3-2 win against top-25 Daviess County in the annual Marshall County Slugfest.
Kemp threw 5 1/3 innings of scoreless ball and later came on for her own save, while Murt's two-RBI triple in the bottom of the third inning and Young's gritty at-bat for an RBI single in the fifth proved to be all the Lady Marshals needed to hold off a perennial state tournament team.
"The effort is always there with this team," Newton said. "They're really, really gritty and they play the right way. They play with a ton of energy and we have a lot of really, really good leadership.
"Aubree Jo really brought it for us in the circle. Gabbi (Lovett) came in, and that's been a really good one-two duo for us. But Daviess County is a great, great program. So for us to come out and be a little grittier than them and seem to be more aggressive, I thought that was the biggest difference-maker."
Marshall's big third inning actually started with a Zoie Swoope double and a successful slap from Charley Pursley (3-for-3, two runs) before Murt ripped a triple to the fence against Daviess County's Maci Simmons - good for the 2-0 advantage.
It wasn't until the top of the seventh that DC got things going against Lovett with two outs. Emma Young's double made it 3-1 and a single down the line from pinch-hitter Kelsey Whistle made it 3-2 before Kemp came back into the circle to preserve her victory.
More notable than Marshall County's clutch offense, however, was its defense. A double play in the top of the fourth inning - coupled with a diving catch of a liner from shortstop Cayson Conner - helped keep the Lady Panthers off the board until late.
"This shows exactly where we should be at," Newton added. "We want to be a top-10 program, and we're just showing the state that we are a top-10 program. Every single one of my kids contributed."
Lady Marshals top Tilghman 12-1 in nightcap
The Lady Blue Tornado scored first - when in the top of the second Bailey Clark took advantage of two prior Lady Marshal errors and singled in Rosie Minter for an early lead.
Marshall County, however, scored 12 unanswered runs for the six-inning win - its 10th of the 2018 season.
Conner went 3-for-4 with four runs and Presley Jezik went 2-for-3 with two runs, as the Lady Marshals' No. 6 and No. 5 hitters, respectively, did the most damage.
Hadlie Butler finished the game out, however, by hitting a three-run double in the bottom of the sixth. Shelby Wadkins picked up the win - giving up just five hits and notching two strikeouts.
Despite weather, Newton noted the fields at both the high school and Mike Miller Park were being tarped for the evening, and a decision to play would be made this morning.
Several teams - including Trigg County, Lyon County, Paducah Tilghman and Murray - are trying to get a host of games in this weekend.