STATE SOFTBALL: Central Hardin faces Pendleton County in Elite 8 and Bailey Richardson will be behind the dish

Central Hardin takes the field this morning at 10 in the KHSAA State Softball Tournament and junior Bailey Richardson will be behind the plate.

This coming off a summer of nothing.

“Being out all summer set me back a lot,” she said. “I always talk about how I want to be off a weekend from softball and being off the whole summer was awful. Having to sit out every weekend and not do anything that had to do with softball — I could not ever do that again. It was awful.”

Richardson was at bat last season and “I swung and it (her right shoulder) just went out and I thought, ‘Have to pop it back into place real quick and go on with our day’ and it just went downhill from there.”

She missed a week-and-a-half of the season, but came back to perform well as the Lady Bruins finished fifth in the state tournament.

Doctors appointments ensued and a decision was made to sit out the summer travel ball season and rehab the shoulder.

“I learned that I don’t want to be off another weekend, I want to play softball,” she said. “Injuries suck. It was so good to be back on the field once I got back.”

She was regimented to a throwing schedule that she could not alter.

“My throwing schedule was like I could only throw 15 times from 10 feet and five from 20 and you just want to keep throwing,” she said. “You have to stop and I didn’t want to stop.”

Richardson said following the physical therapist’s instructions wasn’t easy for her.

“At first, until he said, ‘Bailey you really need to stop or you won’t be back,” she admitted. “That’s when I realized I needed to listen to him and do my throwing program so I could get back.”

A summer of home without softball turned into slowly working her right shoulder back into shape during softball winter conditioning.

“I think it was toward the end of conditioning that I was finally cleared,” she said. “Even during conditioning I had to do my throwing program. I couldn’t do some of the stuff my teammates were doing, so I just watched and that was even worse.

“I missed softball like a 100 out of 10.”

Richardson finished the season hitting .372 with 26 RBIs, seven home runs and six doubles.

“My shoulder is a lot better considering where it was,” she said. “It was hurting a lot. I have to wear a brace all the time. If I don’t wear it, I can’t throw. It doesn’t bother me at all. I can’t even tell I have it on sometimes.”

• The Lady Bruins face Pendleton County in today’s first quarterfinal contest at the University of Kentucky’s John Cropp Stadium.

The winner gets a 4 p.m. semifinal date on Saturday against the winner between Warren East (34-2) and Ashland Blazer (25-11).

The other two quarterfinal matchups pit Madisonville-North Hopkins (24-9) vs. Clay County (35-2) and Louisville Male (36-0) against Boyle County (31-6). The winners play at 1 p.m. Saturday.

The championship game is slated for 2 p.m. Sunday.

The tournament was postponed a week after KHSAA officials made a decision not to wait out the weather forecast from a week ago. So, while the baseball tournament completed one quarterfinal game Friday, two semifinal games Saturday and the championship contest Sunday at Whitaker Bank Ballpark in Lexington, the softball tournament had to wait.

• Warren East High School senior pitcher Katie Gardner was named Kentucky’s Miss Softball by the Kentucky Softball Coaches Association.

Central Hardin senior center fielder Peyton Beger was a First-Team All-State selection in Class 3A.

Lady Bruins senior pitcher Kaci Goedde was an Honorable Mention choice.

Central Hardin by the numbers at the state level:

t 440 hits, 1st

t 375 runs, 1st

t 57 home runs, T1

t 321 RBIs, 3rd

t 83 doubles, T4

t .390 average, 14th

Projected lineups for today:

Central Hardin (35-7)

Angel Ashlock, JR, 1B, .462/57 runs/54 hits/37RBI/11HR/6-2B

Emily Bryant, JR, SS, .394/50 runs/52 hits/35RBI/11HR/9-2B

Peyton Beger, SR, CF, .482/53 runs/66 hits/54RBI/15HR/9-2B

Eleecia Hager, SO, DP, .430/33 runs/43 hits/33RBI/3HR/8-2B

Onnica Nichols, SR, LF, .395/37 runs/51 hits/34RBI/1HR/16-2B

Madyson Jones, FR, 2B, .337/30 runs/35 hits/22RBI/2HR/7-2B

Emma Case, SO, 3B, .316/18 runs/18 hits/16RBI/0HR/4-2B

Bailey Richardson, JR, C, .288/9 runs/20 hits/28RBI/9HR/9-2B

Macey Martin, SO, RF, .476/30 runs/49 hits/26RBI/2HR/10-2B

Kaci Goedde, SR, P, 161.1 IP/151 hits/123 Ks/28BB/19-5/2.30ERA

Pendleton County (26-14)

Olivia Verst, SO, CF, .421/54 runs/56 hits/29RBI/2HR/8-2B

Samantha Verst, JR, SS, .444/34 runs/52 hits/37RBI/0HR/9-2B

Reagan Carlisle, FR, 2B, .483/45 runs/57 hits/46RBI/3HR/12-2B

Maddy Musk, 7th, C, .375/38 runs/45 hits/33RBI/7HR/9-2B

Kayley Bruener, 8th, P, .412/30 runs/49 hits/34RBI/0HR/14-2B

Sydney Manor, SO, 1B, .321/33 runs/36 hits/33RBI/3HR/6-2B

Kylie Richardson, 8th, 3B, .396/18 runs/42 hits/23RBI/0HR/11-2B

Maggie Burgemeir, SO, RF, .308/17 runs/20h hits/11RBI/0HR/3-2B

Avery Himes, 7th, DP, .329/20 runs/28 hits/17RBI/0HR/8-2B

Misty Clower, SR, LF, .154/6 ruins/4 hits/3RBI/0HR/0-2B

Bruener, P, 191.2 IP/215 hits/188 Ks/46BB/21-11/3.40ERA

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