Warren East Finally Ends Central Hardin’s successful season!
The Central Hardin softball team has been one of the most successful programs in the state over the past several seasons. Despite all the wins, the one thing that the Lady Bruins didn’t have is a State Champion Trophy and it looked like that finally might happen during the first year of the single elimination format, but after a surprisingly easy 12-0 win over Pendelton County on Friday morning, Warren East put the first loss on the Lady Bruins ledger breaking a 12-game win streak for the team. After knocking Pendelton County’s Kaylee Bruner (8th grader) aorund for 14-hits and 12-runs, the following day was a different story against Miss Softball’s Katie Gardner, who not only baffled Central Hardin in the circle, but helped her own cause with a home run in the 5th inning to help finalize a 4-1 Warren East win as they advanced to the Championship game where they were beaten by the eventual champion, Male. Central Hardin ended the season with a 36-8 record which actually tied the best record (which was 2011 and 36-6). Head coach Jamie Goodman will return plenty of hitters next season, but will lose All Area hurler Kaci Goedde, Peyton Beger, Onnica Nichols and Erin Urick. Still, it would be foolish to count this team out next season as they should be very dangerous.
Elite Eight game – Central Hardin 12 Pendleton County 0 (six innings) – Pendleton County’s first trip to the state tournament will not be fondly remembered thanks to the Lady Bruins home run hitters and one Kaci Goedde. After both teams got a seven day rest period thanks to weather issues, play resumed at John Cropp Stadium in Lexington, Ky and Central Hardin REALLY took it to the Lady Cats of the 10th Region scoring in every inning and ending a crazy game 12-0 after six innings, but the real story may have been senior Goedde, who threw a perfect game going six innings allowing no hits, no walks and struck out eight batters while throwing just 79-pitches. Goedde was superb and her defense gave her plenty of help along the way. Meanwhile, the Lady Bruin hitters were knocking around Kaylee Bruner for six innings for 14-hits and taking her over the wall for three home runs by Peyton Beger (3rd), Emily Bryant (6th) and Bailey Richardson (3-run shot 6th). Central Hardin scored in every inning on the way to a 12-run win that propelled the Lady Bruins to the Final Four on Saturday for the first time in team history.
Final Four game – Warren East 4 Central Hardin 1 – Despite facing Miss Softball Katie Gardner on May 13th and put the first loss on her and the Lady Raiders (5-4 8-innings), Central Hardin found the senior pitcher a little harder to handle the second time around as Warren East ended their Dream Season, 4-1. Gardner , who didn’t retire the Lady Bruins in order in any inning did keep them off balance for most of the game, allowing just five-hits, 5-walks, 7-strikeouts while throwing 119-pitches. Although she did work out of trouble several times, she only bent once when Angel Ashlock reached base on a fielders choice with two outs in the top of the 5th, stole second, reached third when Emily Bryant singled then scored when Bryant stole second to cut the Warren East lead to 3-1. Unfortunately, Gardner homered off Goedde in the bottom of the 5th with two outs to push the lead back up to 4-1. The Lady Bruins found themselves down for only the second time during the playoffs (they trailed 1-0 after Autumn Henderson homered in the top of the first in the Taylor County win back in the Regionals) when the Lady Raiders put three runs on the board in the bottom of the second on three runs on two hits. Goedde ended her fabulous career allowing 9-hits in 5.1 innings and 4-runs, while throwing 102-pitches until Baylee Hardeman relieved her in the sixth. Central Hardin did have one last gasp when they loaded the bases in the top of the seventh inning with two out, but Eleecia Hager struck out ending the game. The 2-1 finish helped improve the Lady Bruins record at State (14-17 in nine trips).