Daily Independent (Ashland, KY)

Local Sports

May 25, 2013

Kittens go for 5 in a row

ASHLAND — A man nicknamed “W” resided in the White House the last time Ashland lost a 16th Region Tournament softball game.

It’s been all W’s for the Kittens since 2009, when their roll of four straight regional titles began, but eighth-year coach Dave Miller is wary of calling his bunch the top dogs.

First round pairings were unveiled during Friday’s tournament draw at the Ashland Blazer High School library. Play will begin Monday and wrap up on Wednesday. All games will be held at East Carter Middle School.

Russell and Menifee County will kick off the tournament on Monday at noon. Following that matchup will be East Carter-Boyd County at 2 p.m., Rowan County-Greenup County at 4 and Ashland-West Carter at 6.

The semifinal round begins on Tuesday at 6 p.m. The championship game is slated for Wednesday at 7 p.m.

“I still haven’t accepted that we could possibly be a favorite in this tournament,” Miller said. “We’re starting an eighth-grader, three ninth-graders and I’ve lost one of the best outfielders in the state of Kentucky.”

Miller was referring to Sydney Whitt, a junior who underwent surgery to repair a torn ACL and a damaged meniscus on Friday morning.

Ashland (22-9) suffered just two losses inside the region this season — both came against Russell. Megan Hensley and her 300-plus strikeouts have led the way in the circle while McKenzie Vanover has racked up 12 home runs.

Rowan County’s Larry Slone — the last coach to topple Miller’s Kittens in the tourney — isn’t buying what Miller is selling just yet. However, the longest-tenured coach in the region is keeping an open mind with the deep talent in this year’s field.

“I think it has to go through Ashland because they are the defending champions, but there are probably five or six teams that, if they happen to get rolling, could make things happen and win it,” Slone said.

The Lady Vikings (22-15) are coming off a 1-0 victory over Menifee County in the 61st District Tournament.

Greenup County (18-17), which took Russell to 13 innings before falling short in the 63rd District, will offer a mighty task, said Slone.

“We played them in a scrimmage, and I was very impressed,” Slone said. “They’re very solid.”

Boyd County coach Geoff Stewart, who has led the Lady Lions to three consecutive runner-up finishes, said that the Rowan County-Greenup County matchup might just be the best on opening day.

“It could be a dandy,” he said.

Stewart’s attention, though, drew toward his opponent as he glanced at the bracket. East Carter and Boyd County both enter the tournament with 24-11 records. The Lady Lions won the regular season matchup, 7-2, on April 11.

“They worry me because they play some small ball, their pitcher (Morgan Jacobs) has gotten a lot better over the year — she hits her spots well, and she’s got a lot more speed than last year — and (Lady Raiders coach Derek Calhoun) has changed a lot of his starters,” Stewart said. “They’re pretty talented.”

Taylor Wheeler, at second base, and Emily Stewart, at catcher and sometimes shortstop, anchor a defense that Stewart believes is one of his team’s strongest assets. Lora Thompson, one of the Lady Lions’ four pitchers, has also been a bright spot lately.

Text Only
Local Sports
  • Tee Party: High school golf season opens

    A flurry of area tournaments will usher in the high school golf season, which begins today.
    Rowan County’s traditional boys opener, the Eagle Trace Invitational, tees off this morning at 9 with a field of 13 teams.

    August 1, 2014

  • Paintsville senior Miller Baseball Factory selection

    Paintsville baseball player Taylor Miller is currently participating in an elite event at the Pittsburgh Pirates spring training facility in Bradenton, Florida.

    July 31, 2014

  • Barboursville 2015 U.S. Youth Soccer host

    U.S. Youth Soccer announced Thursday that Barboursville and the West Virginia Soccer Association will host the 2015 U.S. Youth Soccer Region I (East) Championships as part of the U.S. Youth Soccer National Championship Series.

    July 31, 2014

  • Highlands’ Artists Market to begin today

    Up-and-coming artists are being offered a rare chance to show and sell their work during the First Friday art walk.

    July 31, 2014

  • AARON SNYDER: Five Teams? Pretty Kool

    If these unseasonably cool July mornings aren’t enough to have your mind on the fast track to football, maybe some Kool Hits news will help.

    July 31, 2014

  • Golf scramble will benefit Paramount Arts Center

    Paramount Woman’s Association’s seventh annual Ladies’ Golf Scramble is scheduled for Aug. 11 at Bellefonte Country Club.

    July 30, 2014

  • Kittens call on Ingram

    Somebody had to follow Dave Miller.
    Scott Ingram is pleased to be the coach to fill the vacancy for the man who built Ashland Blazer softball into a perennial state Top 25 program. The Kittens have won the 16th Region championship every year since 2009.

    July 29, 2014

  • 0729kypgaJr0034.jpg Golfers go out with an encore

    Evan Goble said he “wasn’t completely ready for a playoff” on Monday.
    That didn’t stop him from holing two pressure-packed playoff putts to win the 13-14-year-old division of the final event of the summer on the Kentucky PGA Junior Tour at Bellefonte Country Club.

    July 29, 2014 4 Photos

  • EKC Grid-O-Rama set for Aug. 15-16

    The annual Eastern Kentucky Conference football scrimmage contests are set for Aug. 15-16 at Fleming County and Raceland.

    July 29, 2014

  • Holliday embraces high expectations

    As Marshall football prepares to return to the gridiron to begin fall practice Aug. 4, this season the program finds itself labeled something that it has not been in many years: a favorite.

    July 29, 2014