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Ladycats easily defeat EHS, 13-0

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By Tommie Kendall

Sports editor

In the only county showdown on the diamond this season, the Henry County Ladycats came away with a convincing 13-0 win over the Eminence Lady Warriors last Tuesday night.

Henry’s Kaitlyn Foree ended her final home game of her career with a bang — pitching a perfect five innings and leading the Cats to an undefeated 9-0 home record this season. It was also Senior Night for Henry, and marked the last time Foree faced cross-town rival Eminence.

“If a girl throws a no-hitter, what are you going to do?” Eminence coach Dewayne Douglas asked afterwards. “We just couldn’t hit the ball. When we face a college-caliber pitcher (like Foree), it’s really hard for us to really make contact.”

While Foree was perfect from the pitcher’s circle, she was backed by a strong cast of teammates that didn’t allow any batter to reach base. The minimum 15 Eminence batters came to the plate in five innings of play as it was three-up and three-down for the Lady Warriors each inning.

“Whenever someone throws a perfect game, it’s a contribution of the entire team,” Henry coach Jon Kasten said. “I thought Foree pitched excellent, but she had the defense behind her.”

The contest was the only one between Henry County and Eminence on the softball or baseball field this season. The baseball game scheduled for last Wednesday was canceled due to the rainy conditions, along with the baseball game scheduled for April 3.

To go along with Foree’s strong pitching performance, the Ladycats had one of their best days at the plate. They connected for hit after hit, led by a strong batting performance from just about every player on the roster. Henry scored one run in the first inning, one in the second, four in the third and seven in a big fourth for the 13-0 shutout win.

Meanwhile, Eminence held its own on the defensive side of the ball through half of the game before Henry kicked it in overdrive to put the contest out of reach. Eminence’s Sarah Floyd made a few runs-saving catches in left field; Jessica Adams came up with some big catches in center field; Rachel Raisor played solid at shortstop; and Candace Wells fielded the ball well at third base.

“Our defense was No. 1 for us against Henry,” Douglas said. “When they hit the ball to us, we made the plays.”

Ashley Wilson started for Eminence in the pitcher’s circle, while Kassidy Dees came in during the final two innings.

After sending Eminence back to the dugout in order, the Ladycats started to make some noise in the bottom of the first inning. Karie Powell got on base on a slap shot, and eventually scored on Allison Vaughn’s deep shot that bounced to the fence for a double.

Henry added another run during the bottom of the second. Veronica Hornback singled, was advanced to second on Heidi Smith’s grounder, advanced to third on a passed ball and scored on Taylor Clark’s single.

After the 2-0 start, Henry opening up things during the third with four more runs, then tacked on seven more in the fourth. The Ladycats had five consecutive hits to start the fourth, while Ashley Buck, Powell, Jessica Booher, Tyler Sadler (base running for Vaughn), Foree, Krista DeBurger and Veronica Hornbak all crossed home plate. With bases loaded, Smith drove the ball to the outfield for a bases-clearing triple to score Henry’s final three runs.

“It was good to have everybody hitting up and down the entire lineup,” Kasten said. “And a lot of our outs were on well-hit balls that Eminence made good plays on. I thought we hit the ball very well.”

From coach Douglas’ perspective — coming from the other sideline — he was very impressed with the Ladycats, who dropped Eminence’s record to 1-13.

“Coach (Kasten) has done a very good job with those girls,” Douglas said. “I think they have a very good team.”

Douglas also said the atmosphere of the county showdown seemed a bit different this year. In years past, the game could get heated between the two schools separated by just four miles, but not this time around.

“It’s a rivalry, and there’s been years where I’ve seen the hatred — not this time,” Douglas said. “Maybe the climate has changed a bit. I thought it was a fun game.”

While Eminence fell to 1-13, Henry improved to 15-12 for the season. Both squads are playing in their district tournaments this week.

E-mail us about this story at sports@hclocal.com.