Shortly after winning his 100th game on the diamond, Jon Kasten decided to step down from his coaching position for Henry County’s softball team.
Kasten will back away from the program after leading the Ladycats to a 17-14 season, the 31st District title and a third straight appearance in the 8th Region tournament, where the squad lost to Shelby County (8-5) in opening-round action.
In a six-year coaching span, he leaves behind 104 total wins, the school’s first three North Central Kentucky Conference titles, three district championships since making the switch from the 30th to the 31st District in the state’s new alignment in 2006, and two trips to the regional semifinals.
It was a stretch that was paved with a rocky start, which saw the team win just four games in Kasten’s first year as the head man, but then slowly blossomed into one of the top athletic programs at Henry County High School as the Ladycats continued to climb.
“There were several reasons why (I decided to resign),” said Kasten, who is also a middle school teacher and the high school’s assistant athletics director. “I’m getting married this summer, and I want more time to spend with my wife. And my son is getting to the age where he’s going to be more involved in t-ball and all that, and I didn’t want to miss out on those things.”
Kasten also coaches the volleyball team in the fall, and knew he had to give up one or the other to free up his time. He decided to stay with volleyball.
“I started volleyball the first year I was here, so I’ve always felt like that was my program,” said Kasten, who started coaching the squad in 2001, just two years after the team was formed from scratch. “Plus, I think the softball team is in very good shape. They may need somebody else to come in and get them to that next level — to the state tournament. With this young group, they have all the tools to make a run for the next two to three years.”
During the 2007-08 school year, Kasten was perfect at home as he led the Ladycats to an undefeated home record of 8-0 on the volleyball court in the fall and a perfect 9-0 on the softball field in the spring. Along the way, the Cats also claimed their first volleyball district title with wins over Eminence and Anderson County to wear the crown. Between the softball and volleyball teams, Kasten swept the 2007-08 district titles, and has given the school four more district-championship banners to hang on the gym’s wall.
For Kasten, he started out in volleyball, picked up softball along the way, and now will be back to coaching just volleyball again.
“I thoroughly enjoyed it,” Kasten said of his years as the softball team’s head coach. “When I first arrived, I asked if there was anything I could do with the baseball teams since that’s what I played — I never dreamed of softball when it was brought to my attention. Once I got into it though, I absolutely loved it.”
Kasten had some great softball players along the way, including college signees Samantha Barmore, Britnni Crowe and Kaitlyn Foree. The current team looks even better than past seasons as the Ladycats return a core group of players that include starters Taylor Clark (freshman, first base), Macie New (freshman, second base), Jessica Booher (freshman, shortstop/pitcher), Krista DeBurger (seventh grade, third base), Allison Vaughn (eighth grade, catcher), Karie Powell (sophomore, shortstop/left field), Veronica Hornback (seventh grade, right field) and Heidi Smith (outfield/designated hitter).
It will be a deadly combination that might get the softball team to the school’s first state tournament, as predicted by Kasten with his departure.
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