10th Region softball tourney starts Saturday at Harrison

Evan Dennison [email protected]

Could it be an All-38th District final for the region final?

Coming into the 10th Region softball tournament it looks like things could play out that way. Despite the sudden departure from their head coach after Monday’s 38th District championship loss to Harrison County, Pendleton County and Harrison could be on a crash course for Tuesday’s championship game, if they can take care of business in the first two rounds.

The 10th Region softball tournament gets underway on Saturday with all games to be played at Harrison County.

While the Fillies and Lady Cats look to be the favorites on paper, Montgomery County and Campbell County also look to provide some resistance.

Montgomery County will be the first ones to take the field when they take on St. Patrick at 11 a.m. on Saturday in Cynthiana.

Harrison County and Bishop Brossart follow at 2 p.m., Mason County and Bourbon County the nightcap at 5 p.m.

Campbell County, which has graduation on Saturday, will take on Pendleton County on Sunday at 3 p.m. to round out the quarterfinal matchups.

Semifinals will take place on Monday with the Montgomery-St. Pat winner taking on the Harrison-Brossart winner at 5:30 p.m., the Mason-Bourbon winner facing the Campbell-Pendleton winner at 8 p.m.

The championship game will be Tuesday at 6:30 p.m.

Here’s a brief look at each quarterfinal matchup:

Montgomery County (17-13) vs St. Patrick (11-10), Saturday, 11 a.m.

Montgomery County sports the best record in region play at 9-1 with their lone loss to Harrison County, 5-1 back on May 10. They’re the fourth rated team in RPI and could very well pose as the biggest challenge to the 38th District contenders. Reaghan Oney has been on a tear all season at the plate, hitting .516 with 13 homeruns, five others in the lineup hitting over .300. In the circle, they’ve split a lot of the innings between Caroline Donithan (8-5, 3.99 ERA) and Hallie Conley (8-8, 5.44 ERA).

St. Patrick has won five of their last seven to guarantee themselves at least a .500 record when their season ends. They are led at the plate and in the circle by Makenna Roush as she’s hitting .563 this season and has started 15 games in the circle with a 9-5 record and 5.99 ERA.

The two did not face one another during the regular season. Montgomery County’s last win in the region tournament came in 2016, when they defeated St. Patrick 17-0. That was the last appearance for the Lady Saints in the region tournament and have never won a regional tournament game, based off the KHSAA website.

Harrison County (28-10) vs Bishop Brossart (13-16), Saturday, 2 p.m.

The Fillies enter as the 38th District champ, defeating Nicholas County 11-1 and Pendleton County 3-2 on their way to the title. They’re 15-1 in region play with their lone loss to Pendleton County, but took two of three from the Lady Cats during the season. They have one of the most potent offenses in the region, scoring 8.2 runs per game with a team batting average of .341. Haleigh Jones leads the team with a .431 batting average while Kara Hines is hitting .359 with a team high 43 RBI. Isabella Persinger hits .364 and will no doubt be the one in the circle to get the Fillies where they need to be. She’s pitched in 186.2 of the 219.1 innings possible on the season for the team, sporting a 24-9 record with a 2.74 ERA and striking out 229 batters. The Fillies defeated Brossart, 11-4 back on May 18.

Brossart enters as the 37th District runner-up, defeating Scott 14-9 in the semis before a 11-1 loss to Campbell County in the championship. Scoring runs hasn’t been a problem for the Lady ‘Stangs, averaging over eight runs a game with a team batting average of .386 and six players with at least 60 at-bats hitting over .300. While they can rake, Brossart has issues holding the opponent at bay, having allowed double-digit runs in 11 games this season.

Harrison County’s last regional title came in 2017 while Brossart’s last title came in 2002 and are making their first appearance since 2017.

Mason County (7-26) vs Bourbon County (11-20), Saturday, 5 p.m.

If the first matchup was any indicator, this could be the best game of the first round from a competitive standpoint. Mason County rallied from a 7-2, fifth inning deficit to top Bourbon 9-8 recently on May 27. They meet again just nine days later on Saturday, the Lady Royals as the 39th District champ, the Lady Colonels runners up in the 40th District.

While neither possess a record worth bragging home about, they’ve both played a highly competitive schedule to have them ready to this point.

Bourbon County didn’t pitch Katie Fister the first time around between the two and has the most innings logged on the team with 92.2, a 7-9 record and 6.12 ERA. Fister also leads the team in RBI with 31 while Micah Hays hits .471.

The win over Bourbon started a three-game winning streak for Mason County, nearly matching their win total from the first 30 games of the season. They’ve leaned heavily on Marcella Gifford in the circle as she’s logged 132.1 of their 174.2 innings this season. Gifford does a good job throwing strikes with just 60 walks issued this season, the problem at times is the defense behind her, the Lady Royals allowing 85 unearned runs this season. But the defense put it together in the district tournament, not committing an error in the 14 innings played on Monday.

At the plate, the team is led by speedster Kenzie Gulley, who’s batting .506 with 45 stolen bases this season. If she puts the ball in play and on the ground, she’s almost sure to reach base. Gulley also leads the team in RBI with 21, Shelby Thompson also putting together a nice season at the plate, hitting .357 on the year. What they get elsewhere will be key, the team hitting just .262 as a whole this season.

Mason County’s last win in the regional tournament came in 2016, Bourbon County won it all in 2018, defeating the Lady Royals in the first round along the way.

Campbell County (15-8) vs Pendleton County (21-11), Sunday, 3 p.m.

Save the best for last right?

On paper, this is probably the best first round matchup in terms of who might come out the champion Tuesday night. Pendleton County enters as the reigning champ, but does face some adversity with their coach Robert Coffey abruptly resigning after their loss to Harrison County in the district championship. Jessica Verst has taken over for the remainder of the season.

The Lady Cats tout the highest RPI in the region and rightfully so with a very tough schedule faced this year. They’ve fared well in region play, 9-2 with the only two losses to Harrison County. There’s not many things they don’t do well, hitting for a team average of .360 and have a shutdown pitcher in Kayley Bruener, who is 14-6 with a 1.96 ERA this season, striking out 195 batters in 121.2 innings of work. Bruener also leads at the plate with a .568 batting average and has slugged eight of the team’s 11 home runs. Raegan Carlisle is also hitting over .500 and has stolen 26 bases to go with a team-high 15 doubles. Five others hit over .300 with at least 57 at-bats this season.

Campbell County got hot at the right time and have won seven in a row after an 8-8 start to the season. They’ve done so with their bats, scoring double-digit runs in every contest outside of a 7-0 forfeit against Calvary Christian in the opening round of the 37th District. They average 10.1 runs per game and are 6-2 in region play, the losses to Harrison County and Bourbon County towards the beginning of the season. They hit .412 as a team and have knocked 20 home runs this season, led by Bella Bastin’s eight with a .532 batting average.

Paige Stewart has started 17 games in the circle, 10-3 with a 4.68 ERA.

That’s where the difference in this game could come in to play, Pendleton has a shutdown pitcher in Bruener, Campbell susceptible to give up runs.

Pendleton will look to be the first repeat 10th Region champ since Montgomery County did so in 2003-04. Campbell County is still in search of their first 10th Region title, having made the title game in 2017.

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