For the second consecutive night, McCracken County received a strong outing from its starter.
Cole Womack allowed one run over six-plus innings Tuesday night, leading the Mustangs past St. Mary 4-1 for the Second District championship at St. Mary High School. He struck out seven and allowed one walk one night after saving the Mustangs' first-round win.
The district title is nice, but he has bigger goals.
"It always means a lot to win districts," he said, "but we're reaching for regionals."
The Mustangs - and the seven other teams that qualified for next week's First Region tournament - learn their first-round opponents at 1 p.m. Thursday. Because of their win, the Mustangs will face a team that lost its district championship game.
Mustangs coach Geno Miller believes his team needs to improve on its approach at the plate if it hopes to win the First Region tournament and earn a berth in the state tournament.
"The only thing I'm disappointed in is I just thought we took some bad, unfundamental swings," he said. "But they hung on and for that, I'm proud."
The Mustangs (28-8) needed a rally to do so against the Vikings (17-5).
The Vikings took a 1-0 lead by playing small ball in the bottom of the second. Davis Sims led off with a single, advanced to second on a Ross Whittaker sacrifice bunt and scored on a Nick Eggemeyer sacrifice fly.
The lead lasted a half inning. The Mustangs evened the score when Daniel Seitzinger scored on a passed ball and took a 2-1 lead in the fourth when Ryan Garner scored on a throwing error by Eggemeyer at first.
The early support was enough for Womack, but the Mustangs scored twice in the seventh for the final 4-1 score. Womack reached on an error by Vikings third baseman Jon Darnell, and Austin Mourad took a hit by pitch in the back to put runners on first and second with no outs.
Nathan Williams singled home a run, and Schubert Moffatt's RBI groundout later provided the 4-1 margin.
"That was huge," Miller said. "That was huge because even with that separation of a 4-1 lead they still had to make some things happen to get back in the game."
The Vikings nearly did. Darnell was hit to start the inning and advanced to second after Womack walked Sims. Womack came out in favor of reliever Keegan Breese, who induced an infield fly and a popout that turned into a double play when Darnell was thrown out at second.
"We just made some mistakes mentally that you don't like to see, especially this late in the season," Vikings coach Matt Smith said. "We got some work to do this week, but we'll be better next week on both sides of the ball. We'll be ready to go come Monday."
McCracken County 001 100 2 4 5 0
St. Mary 010 000 0 1 3 2
Womack, Breese (7) and Schneider; Shaw, Eggemeyer (6) and Johnston.
WP: Womack; LP: Shaw.
2B: McC-Garner, Seitzinger; StM-Eggemeyer. 3B: none. HR: none.
Call Daniel Paulling, a Sun sports writer, at 270-575-8662, or follow on Twitter @DanielPaulling.
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