The unprecedented and magical run by the Pendleton County Ladycats fastpitch softball team continues on following a heart-pounding 4-3 victory over Bourbon County to win the program's first ever regional championship and secure a spot in the KHSAA state tournament.
Pendleton County scored its first win over the Lady Colonels after falling twice to the 40th district champion during the regular season. Eighth grade starting pitcher Kayley Bruener threw seven masterful innings in a complete-game effort as she blanked the Lady Colonels over the final five innings. Bruener retired 15 of the final 16 batters she faced in leading the Ladycats to their school-record 25th win of the season.
"We knew that every hitter mattered and every inning mattered," Bruener explained following the win that saw her be mobbed by her teammates after recording the final out with a strikeout. "We had to really battle hard to win this game but everyone played great and it's amazing to know that we are going to the state tournament," she added.
Junior shortstop Samantha Verst led the Ladycats offense going 3-3 at the plate and delivered the go-ahead RBI single in the bottom of the second inning to put her team ahead 4-3. Seventh grader Avery Himes also knocked in a run earlier in the inning.
Fourth-year head coach Mary Pettit was nearly at a loss for words as she continues to guide her squad to what is likely the most surprising participant in this year's field to vie for a state championship.
"I can't say enough about the drive and focus these girls have," Pettit said as she wiped away tears of joy. "This team is truly capable of anything. I believe that there is no limit to what they can achieve."
Pendleton County will take on ninth region champion Dixie Heights at 1 p.m. on June 1 at Northern Kentucky University in opening round play of the fastpitch state tournament.