Madison County's hopes of a state softball title were sunk when Emily Kendrick's long fly ball cleared the fence at the Moyer Softball Complex in Salem.
Kendrick's three-run homer in the bottom of the sixth inning was the difference in Honaker's 3-1 win over the Mountaineers in Sunday morning's Division 1 softball championship.
"It could have went either way, a game of inches, and they got a couple inches over us," said Madison softball coach Jesse Yowell. "It's just a tough break. I really feel bad, feel bad for the girls. It's heartbreaking."
Madison had been a win away from the program's first state title since 1995.
"We were just not hitting today," said Madison pitcher Lauren Seale, who threw nine strikeouts and scored the Mountaineers' only run. "We usually are hitting pitchers like this. She was pitching around us and we were swinging at it."
All four runs in the game came in the sixth inning. Madison took a brief lead in the top of the inning when Seale tripled to right field, then scored on a Honaker error.
Seale, a junior, says the loss will motivate the Mountaineers heading into next season. "It makes us want to win a lot more now, since we made it to this game, and we know how it's going to be, so we're ready for next year."
Yowell says he expects his team to return to the championship game next year.
"Of course we wanted to win really bad, but maybe this will give them some incentive to get charged up and work hard this summer playing their summer ball, travel ball and all that good stuff, and be ready for next year's season."