The 2019 5th Region Softball tournament reminded us of why we never take Central Hardin for granted, because they showed us why for the fifth Straight Year!
NOT JUST GOOD! THEY ARE SUPER!!!Well, it seems like a broken record, but Central Hardin showed why they have won the Region Tournament the last four years, by simply doing everything well. They went 15-0 in 5th Region Win-or-go-home games and always seem to find a way to get it done, whether by using their power game, or playing small ball or just getting the big out when they need it. They outscored their competition 26-3 and made it look easy sometimes. Even their 3-2 win over Green County in the final may have had it’s moments, but coach Jamie Goodman’s girls seem confident enough in pressure situations to pull out their 5th Region championship and another trip to the Sweet Sixteen.
HISTORIC RUN! Central Hardin didn’t just win another Region Final, they continue to make history. Until the Lady Bruins won their second straight Region championship in 2016, only one other team had done that in the 5th. Their fifth title continues to add on to a team history rich in success in the last several decades and they could go for more. With returnees like Angel Ashlock, Emily Bryant, Macey Martin, Bailey Richardson and Baylee Hardeman to supplement the graduating class of stars, the Lady Bruin train should continue to roll.
One of the BEST EVER?!! Although the Central Hardin talent base is vast, is it just a coincidence that the Lady Bruin Region Championship streak may have actually began with the emergence of right hander Kaci Geodde? The eighth grade pitcher was a starter in their 2015 Region final against Taylor County when the first of five Championships actually began and got the win and has been the Ace in all four the last four years in their Championship games including her one-hit gem last season against Green County for the team’s fourth straight championship. Kaci has a 5-0 record in Region finals and will surely go down as one of the Region’s BEST. Geodde, who’s older sister Abbi, who played on two Region Championship teams herself has had a little experience in the winners circle and has simply been part of the changing of the guard as several current players have followed older siblings on the team.
The BEST Game of the Tournament! Maybe, neither Washington County or Elizabethtown failed to reach the Finals, but they hooked up in one of the most exciting games of the seven played at Central Hardin that week. An breathtaking 9-8 Lady Panther win, which started out as a 4-0 lead by Washington County and suddenly turned into a 9-5 Elizabethtown after three round trippers by Mady Pinkham, Hannah Riley and Natalie Shaw, but despite all that it came down to little Kylie McKinney retiring the last two batters with the tying run on second and just one out with a 9-8 score. These two teams always deliver and Elizabethtown has seemed to finish slightly ahead in a agme with four home runs and plenty of exciting plays. Last year’s first round game was a 5-4 score with four Home runs and some crazy plays in that one as well.
NEARLY PERFECT!! My! How one day can change everything for a team. Ask the Lady Panthers, who pounding out eleven hits the previous night, the Lady Panthers faced one of the toughest pitchers in the Region and were shutout by senior Abigail Keltner and the Green County Lady Dragons. Keltner, who got the win the previous afternoon against Marion County despite getting struck on the shoulder by a line drive, showed no ill effects striking out ten Elizabethtown batters and had three of the Lady Dragons 12-hits and walked two batters. Keltner, who allowed 10-hits and seven-runs in an earlier meeting against these same Lady Panthers, had them completely baffled and had a perfect game until the fifth when she walked her first batter.
SAFETY FIRST! In the Marion County – Green County game Monday afternoon, a scary moment occurred when both pitcher Abigail Keltner and first baseman Tanlee Hudgins were hit by line drives. Although both recovered and returned to play, the situation brought up the facemask protective guards that infielder are required to wear. Both Keltner and Hudgins wear them and Keltner has been a big supporter of them as she has been hit numerous times, but has not been seriously hurt yet. Hudgins was struck on the facemask and seemed more dazed than injured and has also promoted the protective gear as well. Although pitchers, first base and third base is mandatory for the protective gear, second and short are not, but more are wearing them.
Green County and Central Hardin One More Time!!!! Since 2009, these two teams have met seven times in the Region Tournament and twice in the Finals for the second season. Even though Central Hardin has had the better of the rivalry recently, it has always been an interesting game because of the matchups and personalities. Also, Green County is the LAST team to defeat Central Hardin in a Region Tournament (2014), while the Lady Bruins have won the last three meetings in win-or-go-home games. Ironically, this game took on the complexion the 2009 first round game which Central Hardin went into the seventh holding on to a 3-0 lead until Green County plated two runs with no outs and got a huge double play to help hold on to 3-2 win. Fast Forward ten years later and it’s another nail biter with both Kaci and Abigail throwing bullets and Goedde just needing three outs for No.5. Just like that, it was 2009 all over again as Keltner singled with one out, McCubbin’s rolls an infield single and Grace Patterson reaches when she was hit by a pitch. With the bases loaded and down to their final out, eighth grader Tatum Caulk ripped a shot to the wall and suddenly the score is 3-2. Needing just one more to tie the game, junior Haley Judd was looking for the Lady Dragons 11th hit, but Goedde induced a liner to short to end the game.