While Warren East looked to continue their excellent postseason after last year’s putout in the district tournament, WKU commit Kendall Smith did it all for the Lady Raiders in their 11-0 4th Region Tournament semifinal win over Barren County.
Playing on the field that she will call home for the next four years, Smith put a punctuation mark on East’s win, going 3-3 from the plate with two home runs, including the three-run shot to put the mercy rule into effect.
“Every time I step on this field, I can see myself in a Topper uniform,” Smith said of being able to play at the WKU Softball Complex. “However, it’s still high school softball for me, and Warren East is all that I’m worried about right now.
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Barren County pitcher Jordan Crist throws a pitch in the Trojanettes' 11-0 loss to Warren East in the 4th Region Softball Tournament semifinal./Photo by Katie Stratman.[/caption]
It means everything to know that I can do something to keep the team moving on in the tournament. Tonight I just wanted to come out and do something big.”
Smith wasn’t the only one who provided the offensive firepower in the five-inning shutout of the Trojanettes. Warren East head coach Philip McKinney credited his entire lineup with the team’s 11 hits on the night.
“I am very proud of all of our batters, one through nine,” said McKinney. “They have done everything I have asked of them at the plate all season long and it has put us in a great position to be successful.”
The Lady Raiders scored early and often, adding two runs in the first inning on Smith’s leadoff solo homer and Katie Gardner’s sac fly to bring in Olivia Price.
After a three up, three down second inning by Barren County, Warren East added three more runs in the bottom of the inning on a bases-loaded walk, an RBI single by Sheridan Akins, and a two-run error at second base, giving the Lady Raiders a comfortable 6-0 lead.
After an inning and a half of scoreless play, East struck again for two more runs in the bottom of the fourth inning on Jeyda Bays’ RBI single and Gardner’s RBI ground out.
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Warren East's Kendall Smith is surrounded by her teammates after hitting a three run homer to give the Lady Raiders an 11-0 win over Barren County in the 4th Region Softball Tournament semifinals./Photo by Katie Stratman.[/caption]
After the Trojanettes stranded runners at second and third, Smith crushed a three run homer to seal the deal for the Lady Raiders in the bottom of the fifth to put the mercy rule into effect.
Smith had three of the Lady Raiders’ 11 hits on the evening with two apiece coming from Price and Akins. The Torjanettes had just three hits as Katie Gardner picked up another shutout win for Warren East.
The Lady Raiders will bump heads with South Warren in the 4th Region Championship Game on Thursday night at 6 p.m. at the WKU Softball Complex, just one week after shutting out the Lady Spartans 6-0 in the 14th District Championship game.
“Being back in this position is the best thing that I could ever ask for as a senior,” said Smith. “It may break out hearts if we don’t win, but we are going to play like it’s our last.”
“We are very fortunate to have gotten out of our district and to be able to continue our season,” said McKinney. “We have practice tomorrow and not many teams across the state can say that at this point.”