43rd District softball: 17 strikeouts lift Lafayette past top-seeded LexCath

·5 min read

The third time was the charm for Lafayette’s softball team this season.

After dropping both of their regular-season meetings with Lexington Catholic, the Generals overcame the top-seeded Knights, 2-1, for the 43rd District championship on Wednesday night. And they did it on LexCath’s field, to boot.

That was a bit of payback for Lafayette, which lost to the Knights in last year’s 43rd finals before upending them in the 11th Region championship a week later. A fourth meeting this season isn’t off the table; they were rated eighth (Lafayette) and 11th (LexCath) by the state’s coaches coming into the postseason, the highest rankings for any 11th Region teams.

Trinity Bridges, Lafayette’s junior ace, struck out 17 batters while giving up four hits and four walks (though two were intentional). The Generals, who won last year’s 11th Region championship as a district runner-up, claimed their first district title since 2019.

“I was thinking of my two seniors the whole time,” said Bridges. “They’re both in the corners of the outfield and I was like, ‘I gotta do it for them.’”

One of those seniors was Kaileigh Franklin Brooks, who had Lafayette’s lone RBI in the top of the first inning. Her double, hit into right field, was uncharacteristic.

“I don’t hit it to the right field that often, I’m usually a pull hitter, so hitting it that way is funny to see because everybody shifts on me,” Brooks said with a laugh. “So whenever I hit it over there it’s like, ‘Ha, you shouldn’t have moved.”

Lafayette’s Trinity Bridges (14) celebrates with fans following the Generals’ 2-1 win over Lexington Catholic in the 43rd District championship on Wednesday.
Lafayette’s Trinity Bridges (14) celebrates with fans following the Generals’ 2-1 win over Lexington Catholic in the 43rd District championship on Wednesday.

The Generals plated their only other run on a passed ball in the third, but they didn’t lack for further scoring opportunities. Lafayette loaded the bases in the fifth with no outs before lining into a double play. Another double play removed a sixth-inning threat before some aggressive base-running ended their turn in the seventh.

Missed chances ultimately didn’t cost Lafayette, but they kept the door open for LexCath. Lydia Kennedy hit a home run to cut Lafayette’s lead in half to lead off the seventh. Caitlyn Kelley, the Knights’ nine-hole hitter, singled following a groundout then advanced to second after Generals Coach Dan Grantz opted to intentionally walk Abby Hammond, LexCath’s pitcher, for the second time in as many plate appearances. Bridges answered the call, striking out the Knights’ No. 2 and No. 3 batters to finish the game.

“That’s all you can ask for, is to have your chance, especially with that part of the lineup,” LexCath Coach Emery Emmert said. “ ... It was a fun game with them, it always is. Dan and I were just talking about how it’s always just one play or one hit.”

Lexington Catholic’s Lydia Kennedy (8) rounds the bases after hitting a home run in the 43rd District finals.
Lexington Catholic’s Lydia Kennedy (8) rounds the bases after hitting a home run in the 43rd District finals.

The two, should they meet again, would not be able do so until the 11th Region championship. This year’s tournament will be played at Western Hills High School in Frankfort.

Lafayette hopes to once again represent the region in the state tournament. It entered the postseason having lost five of its last six games, but four of those losses were to top-12 teams (No. 1 Ballard, No. 3 South Warren, No. 4 Greenwood, No. 12 Warren East) and all five were by a single-run margin.

“I think we have every chance of getting farther than we did last year, especially with the way we played tonight,” said Bridges. “If we keep that energy and drive to win, I think we’ll definitely get far.”

Highlights

11th Region Tournament

When: May 30-June 1

Where: First round at district champions. Semifinals and finals at Western Hills High School

Pairings: Draw is Friday.

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