A previously bare spot on the wall in Trojan Gym will have a new championship banner.
Junior pitcher Karlie Keeney surrendered just two hits inside the circle, and Webster County pounced on Henderson County with three runs in the bottom of the first on the way to a 3-0 victory in the Sixth District Championship on Thursday night—marking the first district title in school history.
“I was speechless,” senior catcher Kari Wood said. “I was so excited.”
The Lady Trojans not only won the district title after coming up just short the past two years, but they also had the pleasure of celebrating that victory with all the fans who had packed into the ballpark.
“It’s very special,” Keeney said. “Coming up short the past few years it feels good to finally be able to get over the hump and win it and was even better to do it on our home field. It’s just a great feeling overall to be a part of something special like the first group to ever win the district championship in school history, especially with the group I did it with.”
A major force for the Lady Trojans in the win was Keeney, who held Henderson County scoreless by limiting the Lady Colonels to two hits and no walks while striking out nine and hurling just 71 pitches in a full seven innings of work.
“Just attacking the strike zone early to get ahead of batters and then trying to get them to chase for either a strikeout or a ground ball out in the infield,” said Keeney of her efficiency inside the circle.
“I was so proud of her,” Wood said. “She makes me look good catching. If I set up in a spot she usually hits it on the spot. She’s a great pitcher.”
The Lady Trojans quickly began the scoring in the bottom of the first as Grace Scott doubled to center to score Kerstin Braden, who had led off with a single to left.
Keeney followed with a solo shot over the left field fence, and Hadlee Carter smacked a double to center to plate Hattie Hartman and give the Lady Trojans a 3-0 lead at the end of the first inning.
“We were all just ready and knew that the first inning was big and we needed to jump on them early and get a lead,” Keeney said. “We just really focused in our at-bats and waited for the pitch we wanted to hit and then attacked it when we saw it.”
While Webster County would not score any more runs the rest of the way, it was more than enough as Keeney set down Lady Colonel after Lady Colonel.
Offensively Webster County pounded out eight hits as seven of nine Lady Trojan starters finished with at least one hit.
Scott led the Lady Trojans with a 2-for-3 outing that included a single and RBI double while Braden, Keeney, Carter, Wood, Kennedy Villines and Rylee Warford each notched one hit apiece—Carter and Wood recording a double while Keeney had a home run.
Caldwell hands Webster early exit from Regional Softball Tournament
Softball can be a cruel, unforgiving game, and ultimately one pitch did the damage in Webster County’s loss to Caldwell County in the first round of the Second Region Tournament at Hopkins Central on Monday afternoon.
Lady Tiger leadoff batter Emma Staples smoked the first pitch Lady Trojan pitcher Karlie Keeney had to offer to right field for a leadoff triple, and she came around to score on a wild pitch for what proved to be the winning run as the Lady Tigers handed the Lady Trojans a 1-0 defeat.
Keeney took the loss inside the circle despite allowing just one run on four hits and one walk while striking out nine.
Caldwell County junior Katie Franklin earned the win by pitching a complete game shutout with only three hits and no walks while striking out four to lift the Lady Tigers to their first appearance in the regional semifinals since 2004.
Webster County was led in the loss by Kerstin Braden, Hattie Hartman and Gracie Thomas with one hit apiece. Hadlee Carter hit a ball into the gap with one out in the bottom of the second, but Staples robbed the Lady Trojan sophomore of an extra-base hit with a Sportscenter Top 10-caliber catch.
The Lady Trojans put a runner on in the bottom of the seventh when Hartman singled to left with only one out, but Webster left courtesy runner Breana Forsten stranded at second to end the game.
Webster County finishes the season with a 18-10-1 record and a 9-1 mark in Second Region play.
Reach CAMERON BROWN at Cameron.email@example.com