The Lady Engineers of Estill County had won the fastpitch softball region tournament every year since moving to the 14th Region in 2006. Two of the last three years, the Jenkins Lady Cavs have been knocked out of the 14th Region tournament by the Lady Engineers.
The Lady Engineers and the Lady Cavs set the standard for the rest of the 14th Region teams for four years and it seemed predestined from the start of the season way back in March that these two teams would meet for the regional championship and the right to advance to the state tournament. All of this set the stage for the regional finals played at Leslie County High School on June 2.
Once the game began, the Lady Cavs continued their postseason tradition of falling behind early and found themselves on the wrong side of a 2-0 score after the Lady Engineers plated two runs in the top of the third inning after a leadoff double by centerfielder April Hall, followed by two walks and a passed ball.
The Lady Cavs stormed back in the bottom of the third to score six runs and take the lead. Hillary Brashear started the rally with a double, followed by an RBI single by Tazsha Hall, which scored courtesy runner Mercedes Boggs. The hit parade continued with singles from Ali Goff , Emily Walker, Sierra Kiser, Kayla Stambaugh, and a double from Alexis Watts to plate five more runs, giving the Lady Cavs a 6-twolead.
The Lady Cavs added a run in the top of the sixth inning on a single by Watts and RBI double by Webb and then add another single run in the top of the seventh inning on a single by Hall, a walk to Goff and a ground ball out. With the lead, Lady Cav pitcher Brooke Webb settled into a comfortable rhythm, holding the Lady Engineers scoreless and allowing only three Lady Engineer base runners for the final four innings to secure the 8-twochampionship win for the Lady Cavs.
Webb pitched well to claim the win, scattering five hits and three walks over seven innings while striking out five. This gives her 37 wins for the season. Based on their performance, Emily Walker, Hillary Brashear, Brooke Webb, and Sierra Kiser were named to the all region team.
Prior to the championship game with Estill County, the Lady Cavs began regional play in a tightly contested game against the Lady Commodores of Perry County Central on May 31.
The Lady Cavs held a 2-0 lead after three innings as a result of single runs in the second and third innings. A Perry Central error and an RBI single by Sara Belcher scored a second inning run, and a leadoff double by Sierra Kiser followed by another Perry Central error scored a third inning run.
The Lady Commodores countered with two runs to tie the game in the top of the fourth inning, thanks to a base hit, a Lady Cav error, and a passed ball. The Lady Cavs plated another run in the bottom of the fifth to take a 3-2 lead on a single by Emily Walker and a double by Sierra Kiser. It looked for a moment as if the one-run lead might be enough to ensure a Lady Cav win, but the Lady Commodores thought otherwise.
A leadoff single in the top of the seventh inning followed by two Lady Cav errors tied the game and sent it into extra innings. Senior pitcher Brook Webb held the Lady Commodores scoreless in the top of the eighth, setting the stage for a dramatic finish in the bottom of the inning.
Catcher Hillary Brashear delivered a one-out double to left field to put the potential winning run on second base and bring left fielder Tazsha Hall to the plate. Just as she did in the district tournament finals the week before, Hall delivered a late inning game winning hit, belting a 3-0 pitch into right field for the dramatic win and advancing the Lady Cavs to the next round.
The second round found the Lady Cavs matched up against the Ladycats of Breathitt County. The Lady Cavs jumped to an early 1-0 lead in the top of the first inning on a leadoff single by Ali Goff and a Ladycat error. The Lady Cav lead was short lived as the Ladycats collected two base hits and a walk in the bottom of the first inning to take a 2-1 lead. The lead grew to 3-1 in the bottom of the third inning, thanks to a Lady Cav error and RBI double by Ladycat third baseman Chelsea Hays.
The Lady Cavs countered in the top of the fourth to reclaim the lead at 4-3 when Sierra Kiser and Alexis Watts collected base hits followed by a long homerun into the bleachers in right center field by pitcher Brooke Webb. Inspired by Webb’s homerun, the Lady Cavs rallied for a big inning in the top of the sixth, sending 11 batters to the plate and scoring seven runs to put the game out of reach. In the rally, Kiser, Stambaugh, Watts, Webb, and Brashear all collected base hits.
The Lady Cavs added a lone run in the top of the seventh on base hits by Kiser and Webb to run the score to 12-3 in favor of the Lady Cavs. Webb then held the Ladycats scoreless in the bottom of the seventh to seal the second round win and move the Lady Cavs into the finals with Estill County.
The Lady Cavs will begin play in the Kentucky High School Athletic Association state tournament in Owensboro on June 11 against the 12th Region champion Lady Briar Jumpers.