OWENSBORO — Kelsi Pardue watched the final play of the state softball tournament in slow motion.
The pitcher had just forced Ballard's last batter to line out to the shortstop and give Allen County-Scottsville its first state championship.
Pardue just stood there frozen in her circle.
"I didn't know what to do," she confessed after the No. 3 Patriots downed top-rated Ballard 3-2 to win the crown. "I didn't know how to react. ... It hasn't sunk in at all."
It might take a few hours or a few days but, eventually, it will sink in for Pardue and her Patriots teammates.
Coach Rick Roberts was already feeling the joy.
"It's great to break through and win a state title," he said. "It's the only state title in our school's history.
"It feels really good, and I'm just really happy for the girls."
Ballard and Allen County-Scottsville already had battled that morning in the championship bracket, with the Patriots struggling early before stringing together an eight-run fourth inning.
The 9-4 loss was the Bruins' first of the season to a team from Kentucky, and it sent them to the consolation bracket.
That eight-run inning, capped by freshman Katie Young's grand slam, changed the day for the Patriots.
"A freshman hitting a grand slam, you couldn't ask for a better story than that," said Pardue, a Western Kentucky University commitment. "The way it all went was amazing."
There were no mid-game heroics needed in the championship game on Saturday at Jack Fisher Park.
Allen County-Scottsville was aggressive from the start, scoring its first two batters of the game.
Catie Yates and Allison Pedigo both went home on Taylor Borders' two-run shot to center field.
Pedigo went home again in the third inning on Amanda Wood's single to center to make it 3-0 Patriots.
It set the right tone, the pitcher and her coach said.
"Getting two runs in that first inning is a sigh of relief," Pardue said. "I can go out there and relax a little bit having that lead."
"Whenever you give her a lead, she's a lot harder to hit than when she's struggling," he said. "It allowed her to throw her screwball and allowed her to throw her change-up."
Aside from giving up 12 hits in the morning game versus Ballard, Pardue was stellar in the state tournament, only allowing 13 hits in her four other games.
She pitched every out, including opening the tournament with a perfect game. In her five complete games, she struck out 39 batters, walking just five. Pardue earned tournament Most Valuable Player honors for her effort.
Ballard made things interesting in the fifth inning when Meghan McCreery went home on a fielding error by the Patriots. Then Jessica Adell scored on Jordan Wise's single to left field to pull within a run, 3-2.
Pardue didn't allow a base runner in the next two innings to seal the win.
It's a win she still can't believe the Patriots got.
"I can't figure out what I'm feeling," she said. "It's just unbelievable."