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Coach reaches milestone

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By Tommie Kendall

When Jon Kasten and his Ladycats celebrated a 10-0 victory over Harrison County May 10, it was more than just another check in the win column. It also marked the 100th time Kasten came out on top during his head coaching career on the softball field.

True, a lot of what’s achieved on the field is because of the players. But sometimes, the coach should get the credit, too. Thanks to Henry County Athletics Director Todd Gilley, who pointed out Kasten’s achievements to me last week, this coach isn’t going unnoticed.

For Kasten, reaching the milestone was icing on the cake to an already successful coaching stint that included the school’s first three North Central Kentucky Conference titles and two district championships since making the switch from the 30th to the 31st District in the state’s new alignment in 2006.

“When I started coaching, I had goals that I wanted to achieve, and one of them was for 100 wins in softball,” said Kasten, who also coaches the volleyball team in the fall. “That was just the standard goal that I wanted to hit, but I never dreamed it would be this soon.”

The road to No. 100 was paved with a rocky start, which included just four wins that first year in 2003. The Ladycats then hit a pivotal point with the 2004 squad, improving to 22 wins. They followed with 19 wins in 2005, 18 wins in 2006 and 24 wins in 2007.

Kasten and his Cats won No. 100 against Harrison, then followed with No. 101 against Jeffersontown and No. 102 against Eminence, which left the the squad with 15 wins heading into the district tournament this week.

“It’s something that I’m very proud of, but of course it’s more about the girls than it is about me,” said a modest Kasten, who didn’t want much mentioned about the achievement.

With Henry’s win over Eminence last Tuesday, it also left the Ladycats a perfect 9-0 at home this season. In repeat fashion, Kasten also led the volleyball team to a perfect 8-0 home record this past fall, when the Cats won their first district title on the volleyball court. The football team was also a perfect 6-0 at home, which shows it’s a good time to be Henry County High School fan.

Like Kasten said, the 100th win is a reflection of the players he had along the way — like college signees Samantha Bamore, Brittany Crowe and Kaitlyn Foree — but also the coach himself. He’s been surrounded by great talent, but is also the centerpiece as the only constant on each of his winning teams. It’s a common denominator that has led the Cats from the underdogs to one of the best teams in the entire 8th Region.

Now, with Kasten on the sideline and the talent of his younger players shining through, win No. 200 could be here before we know it

Tommie Kendall can be reached at sports@hclocal.com.