The Henry County Lady Cats continued to slug their way past opponents in Florida last week.
After dropping their first game on March 31 to Corbin and defeating LaRue County April 1, the Cats won two games on Thursday against North Hardin and Breckinridge County before wrapping up the week on Friday with a victory over Fern Creek.
The Cats put up 29 runs in the three games and got a pitching gem from Krista DeBurger against Breckinridge County.
Breckinridge County 1
In Thursday’s first game, the Lady Cats won 6-1 as Krista DeBurger struck out 11 batters and allowed only four hits. Aly Stanley had a big day at the plate going 4-4, with 3 runs and one RBI.
Coach Jon Kasten thought Stanley’s first hit leading off the game set the tone for the entire game.
“We were able to jump out and score in the first inning, which I thought was really important,” he said. “Aly had two strikes on her and then hammered a change-up to the left-center gap. It was a really good pitch and Aly just sat back, loaded and drove it. That was the last change-up their pitcher threw.
“That goes to show how important the lead off spot can be. If Aly takes the pitch or swings and misses, the pitcher gets confidence in that pitch and may use it a lot and that game could have been completely different.”
After Stanley’s double, Paige DeBurger grounded out, advancing Stanley to third base. Krista DeBurger singled to centerfield to score Stanley and give the Cats momentum that they would not relinquish.
The Cats added two in the third on a two-RBI single by Olivia Whaley that scored Samantha Head and Stanley.
Stanley got an infield single on a hard ground ball to third with the bases loaded in the fourth to score Shelby Ray and give the lady Cats a four-run lead.
The Lady Tigers broke through for their only run in the bottom of the fourth on a one-out double.
The Cats added their final two runs in the sixth when Krista DeBurger singled home Head and Stanley.
She then closed the game out in the seventh by striking out the side.
“Krista completely dominated this game with her pitching,” Kasten said. “She had 11 strikeouts and only one hard hit ball on her for the game. It was great to see her throwing with the confidence that she had in that game. She had great control and kept their team in check. Aly hit the ball really well, going 4-4 and scoring three runs. Krista also hit the ball well with two hits and three RBIs. Samantha Head had a good game at the plate with a hit, a walk and a sacrifice bunt that she reached safely on and scored two runs.”
North Hardin 9
The Cats pounded out 18 hits against North Hardin to take the three-run win in a slugfest. North Hardin had 13 hits but couldn’t keep up with the Lady Cats’ hot bats.
Krista Deburger — who pitched so well in the first game — moved to shortstop in this game, but dominated at the plate as she had on the mound in the previous game. She went 5-5 with a home run, four RBIs and four runs scored.
Whaley and Mikaela Cline also had big days at the plate with three hits apiece. Cline had a double and a triple in her three hits. Whaley had a double, drove in three runs and scored three times herself.
The Cats scored two runs in the first with two outs. Whaley drove in DeBurger with a single to centerfield and Shelby Ray drove in Whaley with another single to center.
North Hardin struck back with three runs in their half of the first inning, including a two-run triple with two outs.
But Henry County came back with five runs in the second to take a four-run lead. The Cats again did all the damage with two outs. The big hits in the inning were back-to-back triples by Cline and Ray.
The Lady Trojans got a run back in the bottom of the inning to make it 7-4.
In the fourth inning the Lady Cats made it 9-4 on back-to-back doubles by Whaley and Cline. The Cats then put the game out of reach in the fifth on Krista DeBurger’s three-run homer to centerfield.
“Krista’s home run to centerfield got out very easily,” Kasten said. “She hit the ball very well in this game.”
North Hardin tried to climb back in the game in the fifth with four runs but the gap was too wide. They added another run in the seventh to set the final margin.
Stanley pitched the full seven innings and Kasten liked what he saw to end the game.
“Aly pitched decent,” he said. “She didn’t throw her best stuff until the seventh inning but still didn’t have a lot of balls driven hard against her. There were a lot of bloop hits in this game and our defense let her down a little bit. In the seventh she came out throwing much harder than she had all game and retired the last batter with a strikeout, which is always a good way to end the game.”
Fern Creek 8
The Lady Cats got a taste of their own medicine in the first inning against Fern Creek.
Henry County used the first at-bat of the game to set the tone all week against their opponents and Fern Creek came out and did the same to Henry County when they scored two runs in the top half of the first inning.
“That concerned me a little because I didn’t know how we would react,” Kasten said.
The Lady Cats reacted with their biggest inning of the year so far as they put up seven runs in the bottom of the inning to take momentum away from the Lady Tigers.
“That showed me all I needed to know about our team,” Kasten said. “We didn’t get rattled at all and just came back and had our best offensive inning of the season.”
Fern Creek cut the lead to 7-4 in the top of the second but the Cats got a run back in the third inning before the game settled down in the fourth with neither team scoring a run.
The big inning turned out to be the fifth as Fern Creek scored four runs in the top of the inning to tie the score at 8-8.
But the Lady Cats once again had the answer with three decisive runs in the bottom of the inning.
Molly Williamson led off with a walk and Head single to right field to advance Williamson to third. Aly Stanley then delivered and RBI double. With one out Krista DeBurger hit a line drive to second base that was misplayed and allowed both Stanley and DeBurger to score.
DeBurger, who was back on the mound in this game, closed the door in the sixth and seventh innings to give the Lady Cats their fourth win in five games at the Florida Beach Bash.
Kasten was pleased with what the trip showed him about his team.
“Going four for five for the week was really good,” he said. “We should have been 5-0 but we weren’t the better team that day. We scored a lot of runs and hit the ball really well.
“I saw improvements in defense and in our pitching throughout the week and we learned things from the week. We’ll see how we apply what we learned this week as the season goes along.”