HC Ladycats win third straight championship

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By Tommie Kendall

Sports editor

In perhaps its greatest feat yet, the Henry County softball team completely dominated the 31st District this season in route to its third straight 31st District championship.

The Ladycats 10-0 win over Owen County in the finals last Thursday night left them a perfect 9-0 against district opponents and, more impressively, they outscored the three opponents 107-0.

By watching the reaction of the Cats following the Owen victory, it was clear that anything other than a title would have been a disappointment for a team that has moved from more of an underdog role to one of the top teams in the entire 8th Region.

“This was one of those years that if we didn’t win the championship, we would have considered it an unsuccessful season,” Henry coach Jon Kasten said a day after the win. “It wasn’t a shock this year — I think we were expected to win.”

The Ladycats put the pressure on themselves and came through in the clutch with an opening-round win over host Gallatin County (10-0) last Wednesday and Owen the following day in the finals. Against both teams, Henry ended the game with the 10-run rule after five innings.

The only time Owen threatened to score a run was during the top of the fourth inning. With bases loaded and two outs, Kaitlyn Foree pitched out of the jam by forcing a ground ball to first baseman Taylor Clark, who tapped first base just as the Owen base runner was crossing home plate.

Henry relied on getting players on base and sacrificing them around, and managed to open up the game with a few big innings at the plate.

“We sacrificed more in these two games than the last two weeks combined,” Kasten said.

For their play during the two days, Foree, Ashley Buck, Karie Powell and Macie New were named to the All-District Team. Foree pitched strong games with a combined 19 strikeouts and provided a solid bat, while Buck played solid in center field and batted well, Powell played well in left field and also provided a strong bat, and New fielded the ball perfectly at second base. New, a freshman, moved into the starting rotation at second base late in the season when Kasten decided to juggle the lineup, and she’s been there every since. While New plays the field, she is replaced by junior Heidi Smith in the batting lineup.

With the win, Henry improved to 17-13 on the season and drew Shelby County, the 30th District runners-up, in the opening round of the 8th Region tournament, which is played in Oldham County this week.

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