Verst's walkoff sends Ladycats to regional finals
The Pendleton County Ladycats used more extra inning heroics to pull out another thrilling victory keep their season alive. Junior captain Samantha Verst delivered a bases loaded walkoff hit in the bottom of the eighth inning to send the club to its first ever regional championship appearance in a 4-3 victory over George Rogers Clark.
The matchup marked the first time the Ladycats and Lady Cards had met in over two decades as Pendleton County scored its first ever win over the 40th district powerhouse while improving to 24-14 overall.
Verst led the Ladycats with three hits in five plate appearances. Following the dramatic victory, she said it was a challenge to refrain from getting physically ill due to what was at stake.
"I'll be honest with you, after we weren't able to win it in the bottom of the seventh with runners on I almost threw up," she explained as she smiled in relief.
"This team just doesn't give up. After we tied the game at three in the fourth inning we knew it was time to really go after it. When we're all on our game together, we feel like we can't be beat," Verst added.
Kylie Richardson tied the contest with a flyball that was dropped by the Lady Cards centerfielder which resulted in three runs crossing the plate for the Ladycats in the bottom of the fourth. Starting pitcher Kayley Bruener handled adversity throughout the game as she continually avoided major damage in limiting the Lady Cards to any big innings.
Head coach Mary Pettit was visibly emotional following her teams come from behind victory. She said she continues to be amazed by the poise and resiliency they show even when things don't go their way. And she expressed total confidence in her team leader with the game on the line.
"Samantha gave me full confidence as she stepped in there and came up big for us. She and the rest of this team are just unbelievable. I cannot say enough how proud I am for all of them," said Pettit.
Pendleton County will meet Bourbon County who shutout Campbell County 2-0 in the other semifinal game. The championship game is scheduled for 6 p.m. on May 29 for the regional crown and a trip to the state tournament.
Pendleton County lost an early season game on March 27 at Bourbon County 15-5 but the youthful Ladycats hosted the Lady Colonels just two weeks ago on May 15 and fell in a tight 2-1 decision. Bourbon County is the defending regional champion.