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The LaRue County High School Lady Hawks softball team will honor several former players and retire the jerseys of three players in a May 12 ceremony.
“… The program has taken a look at all the former Lady Hawks, and will retire the numbers of three most dominant players in our program’s history,” said head coach Mielle DiStefano.
The program, in its 15th year in fast pitch, has accumulated seven 18th District titles and three 5th Region titles, was a semi-finalist in the 1996 state tournament and was ranked as high as second in the state in 1997. The team is ranked in the top 15 in the state for most wins by a program.
The accolades “couldn’t be possible without the many young ladies who donned a Lady Hawk jersey,” DiStefano said.
Jerseys to be retired are No. 22 Amanda Hayes Eastridge, No. 14 Brandy Meers and No. 1 Tesha Paysen.
The ceremony is set for 7 p.m. May 12 between games of the John Hardin doubleheader.
Eastridge played second base and pitcher 1994-97 and is the first Lady Hawk to play in the East-West All Star game.
Eastridge is first in career batting average with a .398, third in career hits with 177, second in career doubles with 35, second in career triples with 14, second in homeruns with seven, second in walks with 86, second in RBIs with 109, fourth in runs scored with 144, fourth in pitching wins with 32, ERA of 1.47 for second and first in defensive assists with 267. She was a member of the 1996 region championship team.
“Amanda was an enforcer, she was feared by everyone we played. She was the total package " she could hit, field, pitch and wanted to win every game,” said DiStefano. “We haven’t had anyone show the kind of power she possessed. She went on to play at St. Catherine College, then transferred to Lambuth College, then returned to St. Catherine’s as a head coach.”
Eastridge now serves as freshman coach for the Lady Hawks.
Meers played 2000-2005 and was part of the 2001 and 2005 region championship teams. She was fourth in career batting average with .342, first in hits with 205, first in doubles with 39, first in triples with 15, first in homeruns with nine, first in runs scored with 201, first in stolen bases with 105 and tied for first with most times (eight) hit with a pitch.
She was the first Lady Hawk to hit a homerun at the state tournament and “the toughest kid we have had in the program,” according to DiStefano.
“Brandy played hard every day,” said DiStefano. “You knew she was going to get a hit, there was no pitch that could fool her. She garnered several region, district and all area awards. Brandy was determined in 2005 to take her team back to the state and led off an unforgettable inning against then-rival Meade County with a deep shot over the left centerfield fence, as the team cruised to a 18-5 victory.
“Even to this day, we miss that bat in the line up. She was a sure hit and her defense was flawless.”
Meers started out as an outfielder, moved to pitcher and ended her high school career as shortstop.
Paysen was a member of the 2005 region championship team. She is fourth in batting average for a season with .449, fifth in career hits with 155, fourth in triples with nine, second in runs batted in during the season with 34, sixth in runs scored with 125 and second in stolen bases with 86. Before moving to third base her senior year, she was second in fielding percentage with .980.
Paysen “got into her first games as a courtesy runner, and has not slowed down yet,” said DiStefano. “She made an impact in centerfield for many years. I don’t think there is a coach in the state that can’t say that Tesha stole a hit from one of their ballplayers. She has amazed the crowds with her amazing speed to track down balls in the gap and at the fence.”
Paysen was the first Lady Hawk to make the East-West All Stars in her junior and senior years. She was named to first team all state and selected to the elite Kentucky All-Stars who play a traditional border game versus the Tennessee All-Stars.
Paysen is the team’s first Division One player, as she is currently playing at the University of Louisville.
“Tesha exemplifies this program,” said DiStefano. “… in love for the game, desire, and never quit is what she stood for, and why she is excelling at U of L.”
Several players will be inducted into the hall of fame. This honor is voted on by alumni.
Slow pitch hall of fame " Julie Wooten, Mary Beth Hornback, Trista Logsdon, Tiffany Rogers, and Beth Pickerell
2009 inductees " Brandy Meers, Nicky Miller, Karen Rice, Brandi Eastridge and Marsha Scherer.