SOFTBALL: Lady Bearcats have chance to prove plenty

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By John Herndon

When trying to figure out the post-season prospects for Anderson County softball, one can safely say Anderson County has a chance.

The Lady Bearcats have a chance to be playing in Owensboro at the state tournament. And they have a chance to be heading home for the season in the first district tournament game, a semi-final showdown with Collins.

But to call such a scenario puzzling would be stretching things. It was really what most thought would be the Lady Bearcats’ story when the season opened in March. As the headline for this paper’s softball preview said, Anderson was going to be very young, but could be very good.

With the 30th District Tournament starting next week, the Lady Bearcats have shown nothing to dispute that assessment. Consider that on April 29, Henry Clay routed the Lady Bearcats 9-1. Just eight days later, Anderson returned the favor on the Blue Devils 10-2.

It has been that kind of season. Anderson has beaten good teams such as Collins and Daviess County twice but had some puzzling losses. And perhaps the most disappointing setback of them all came on May 5 when the Lady Bearcats squandered a pitching gem from Mackenzie Peavler, giving up two unearned runs in a 3-2 loss in eight innings at Spencer County.

That loss kept Anderson from claiming the top seed in the district tournament and has put the Lady Bearcats in the precarious position of having a tough district opener against Collins, a team Anderson has beaten twice, once in extra innings.

Last week, Anderson pounded Collins, but Titan coach Jim Axline told The Sentinel-News that he did not throw his top pitcher, Jeneca Thomas, to keep Anderson from seeing her so close to the district tournament.

Anderson’s 9-6 win last Tuesday did not count in the district standings.

Awaiting the Anderson-Collins winner in the district finals will most likely be Spencer County, which has put up one of the region’s best records at 17-7. Anderson kept getting base runners against Lady Bear lefty Leigh Ellen Thomas, but could muster just two runs in the loss on May 5.

Both the district winner and runner-up will advance to the regional tournament, where Oldham County is a prohibitive favorite.

The Lady Colonels and Grant County were widely considered to be the class of the region when the season started and Oldham has done nothing but underscore that all season. The Lady Colonels do not have a weak link in the lineup, have posted a 24-6 record against a tough schedule and might be the region’s best team since the Anderson team that advanced to the final six in the double-elimination state tournament in 2008.

However, Oldham only beat Grant 6-5 early in the year, and in a one-and-done tournament, anything can happen. If someone does upset Oldham – the Lady Colonels are 13-0 against regional foes so far – then it is wide open.

Grant, with a strong pitcher, Kaitlyn Roy, would be the top threat, but Walton-Verona and Henry County would also be in the mix. Anderson, Collins and Spencer could all be in that same class, too.

With the tournaments starting Monday, Oldham County is clearly the class of the region, but if the Colonels stumble, it is will be a wide open affair.