TITLE HOPES DASHED: Henderson County strikes quick, ends North Laurel’s state title run in championship game

LEXINGTON — North Laurel’s quest for its first fastpitch state title since 2001 came to an end in Saturday’s championship game with an 11-0 loss to No. 2 ranked Henderson County.
The Lady Jaguars fell behind 2-0 in the first inning and were unable to recover, finishing their 2024 campaign with a 30-10 record.
Despite the loss, North Laurel can be proud of its accomplishments, including state runner-up finishes in 2000, 2008, and now 2024.
Each player played a crucial role in upholding the Lady Jaguar Fastpitch tradition.
North Laurel now holds a state record of 19 region titles, 860 wins, and is second in the state with 40 state tournament victories.
The Lady Jaguars were limited to three hits with Saige McClure, Bella Finley, and Katie Keen finishing with one hit apiece.
Eighth grader Emma Carl took the loss, tossing three inning while allowing 10 hits and seven earned runs. She struck out two batters. Tessa Monhollen pitched two innings, allowing two hits and one run.
Emma Carl, Saige McClure, and Bella Sizemore were named to the All-Tournament Team. 
Henderson County came out swinging, scoring two runs in the top of the first inning to take a 2-0 lead.
Alyse Rollings led the game off with a double while Taylor Troutman followed with a triple to make the score 1-0. Hallie McCracken came up and answered with a run-scoring single, giving her team a 2-0 advantage.
Anna Kemp proceeded by retiring the side in order when North Laurel came to bat in the bottom of the first.
The Lady Colonels continued their hot hitting in the top of the second inning while taking advantage of an error by the Lady Jaguars.
Kemp’s two-run double highlighted the inning while all three runs were unearned.
North Laurel had a chance to cut into its deficit in the bottom of the second with Emma Carl recording a walk while Braylee Finley connected with the Lady Jaguars’ first hit. Morgan Edwards followed by reaching base on an error which loaded the bases for Katie Keen, who struck out to end the scoring threat.
Saniya Shields started things off for Henderson County in the top of the third inning with a single. She followed by stealing second and advanced to third with a ground out. She then scored her team’s sixth run of the game on a wild pitch.
North Laurel threatened to score again in the bottom of the third with Saige McClure reaching second with a double. She was stranded at second though after Bella Sizemore struck out and Braylee Fawbush popped out to end the inning.
Henderson County continued to push runs across the plate in the top of the fourth inning.
Troutman walked while McCracken followed with a double to put runners on second and third. Kemper then singled up the middle to increase the Lady Colonels’ lead to 8-0. A triple by Ayden Bennett scored Kemper while extending Henderson County’s advantage to 9-0.
North Laurel coach Chris Edwards, replaced Carl with Tessa Monhollen after Bennett’s run-scoring hit.
Monhollen recorded an out with the first batter she faced, but Maggie Grogan followed with a run-scoring single to make the score, 10-0.
North Laurel went down in order during the bottom of the fourth, allowing the Lady Colonels to continue to add onto their lead in the fifth inning.
Shields delivered a run-scoring single to right field, pushing it Henderson County’s edge to 11-0.
The Lady Jaguars attempted to make one final rally in the bottom of the fifth with Keen reaching base thanks to a single up the middle, but Katie Sams lined into a double play ending the game.