LEXINGTON - The regional championship game is familiar territory for Franklin County's softball program. The state tournament isn't.
The Lady Flyers won the 11th Region tournament Thursday at Dunbar High School with a 4-3 victory over three-time defending champion Madison Central, earning a berth in the state tournament which will be played next Friday and Saturday at Tie-Breaker Park in Hopkinsville.
"It's been a long time coming," said FCHS coach Tracy Spickard, whose teams were in the regional championship game in 2000, 1998 and 1997. "There are a lot of emotions running through me right now. I'm just so proud these girls will get the opportunity to find out what it means to play at the next level."
This will be Franklin County's first state tournament appearance since fast-pitch softball was sanctioned in 1995. The Lady Flyers went to the state tournament in slow-pitch softball in 1987.
"It's awesome," FCHS senior Stephanie Vincent said. "Me, Myrissa (Patton) and Amy (Eichhorn) have waited years for this, and we finally pulled it through."
But it wasn't easy. The Lady Flyers struggled at the plate through the first four innings as Madison Central pitcher Jessica Moon recorded 11 strikeouts, seven of them on called third strikes.
Franklin County's lone hit through four innings was a bunt single by Sarah Boden, and the only ball hit out of the infield was a fly ball to right field by Lydia McKinney that was caught for the third out in the fourth.
For more on this story, see the latest State Journal.