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Anderson County softball is finally living up to its lofty pre-season expectations.
Not that anything major was ever wrong with the Lady Bearcats, but after a week that saw them win seven of eight games by a combined 62-12 score, Anderson is showing signs it has designs not only on an Eighth Region championship but also making noise at the state tournament if the Lady Bearcats get there.
During the week, Anderson routed two Eighth Region foes and knocked off 16th-ranked Boyle County in the Capital City Showcase, hosted by Franklin County. The Lady Bearcats also made a statement with a resounding 10-0 mercy-rule win over district foe Spencer County last Tuesday.
“We finished as runner-up in the Franklin County Showcase,” Anderson coach Brent Aldridge said. “It was a long day on Saturday. We started playing at 9 a.m. and wrapped up around 10 p.m. We played great all weekend despite having one pitcher, Mia Aldridge, a little under the weather.”
Franklin took the championship of its own tournament, 2-1, to end Anderson's eight-game winning streak.
The Lady Bearcats, ranked 23rd in the state in the latest poll, now stood at 12-4 through Saturday's games.
In the Showcase final, Anderson saw a 1-0 lead slip away in the bottom of the sixth, when Franklin scored twice. Both teams mustered just four hits in the pitching duel between Anderson sophomore Ally Moore and Franklin County's Kara Howard.
“Ally pitched a great ball game, but we just came up a little short on the hitting department,” Aldridge said. “Give Franklin County credit. They played a great ball game and have a good pitcher in Kara Howard.”
Franklin was unranked in the last coaches' poll but was receiving votes for the Top 25.
Otherwise, Anderson's bats were smoking through the tournament.
The highlight of the tournament from Anderson's perspective might have been a 4-3 win over highly regarded Boyle County. The Lady Rebels had been rolling along before shortstop Corrin Robinson powered a 2-run home run, the first of her varsity career, during the Lady Bearcats' first at-bat, when they scored all four runs.
Moore got the win in the pitching circle while Currens was 2-for-2 at the plate.
The Lady Bearcats routed Boone County, 13-0 as freshman catcher Bailey Curry smacked a pair of home runs and drove in seven runs total. Sophomore Kaci Curres went 2-for-2 at the plate while more pitched three innings of no-hit ball before giving way to Mia Aldridge in the fourth.
Moore got another win over Bourbon County as Curry blistered Lady Colonel pitching for three hits and two RBI. Katelyn Harrod also picked up a pair of RBI and delivered a pair of hits.
The Lady Bearcats also routed a pair of regional foes, Henry County and Shelby County, during the tournament.
Anderson whipped Henry, 9-2, on Friday night as the Lady Bearcats erupted for five runs in the second inning as Alissa Vest powered a grand slam. Mia Aldridge got the win.
Saturday, Anderson defeated Shelby County for the second time this year, rolling to an 8-2 victory as Currens belted a pair of home runs and drove home four runs while Vest went 2-for-2 with a pair of RBI. Aldridge gave up one hit in four innings of work before Kasey Swails came on to finish things off.
While Anderson and Shelby are 30th District rivals, the game does not count in the district standings.
Anderson Co. 13, West Jessamine 2.
Currens belted a home run and drove in four runs as the Lady Bearcats rolled past West Jessamine, 13-2, Wednesday night in Nicholasville. Currens had two hits, as did Vest while Robinson went 3-for-3 at the plate.
Moore gave up one earned run in five innings to earn the victory.
Anderson Co. 10, Spencer Co. 0
Anderson scored in every inning as it routed district rival Spencer County 10-0 last Tuesday at the home field.
Anderson manufactured a run in the first when Molly Burkhead reached on a bunt single, then stole second and when to third on Robinson's sacrifice. She came home when Curry delivered a clean single to left.
Curry put Anderson firmly in control with a towering 3-run homer to right field in the bottom of the second to make it 4-0, while Currens delivered a line shot over almost the exact same spot of the fence.
The Lady Bearcats finally made it a mercy-rule game when Harrod drove in Currens with a sacrifice fly in the bottom of the sixth.
Aldridge dominated on the mound with 11 strikeouts.
“What is there to say about Bailey,” Brent Aldridge said. “If the kid will sit on good pitches, she is one of the better hitters in the state. Kaci Currens has been swinging a hot bat as well. She is another kid who could really shine this year. Corrin Robinson has also been swinging a hot bat.”
Aldridge saw some inconsistency early in the year but knows his team could be “scary good.”
“I believe Coach (Emily) Bucklew said it best, 'If only these girls knew their potential,'” Aldridge said. “And this is the kid that played on the 2008 team that finished fifth in the state, so she should know.”