Daily Independent (Ashland, KY)

Local Sports

June 9, 2014

All-State honors abound for area softball

ASHLAND — A talent-rich season for area softball is reflected on the Kentucky High School Softball Coaches Association All-State teams.

Ashland’s Megan Hensley and Boyd County’s Taylor Wheeler received first team Class 2A All-State honors. Another 16th Region player, Menifee County’s Erika Brewer, was named first team in Class A.

Three other players — McKenzie Vanover (Ashland), Montana Fouts (East Carter) and Brooke Williamson (Johnson Central) — were second team selections, while Rachelle Fairchild (Johnson Central) received honorable mention recognition.

Hensley and Vanover helped lead Ashland to a sixth consecutive 16th Region championship, school-record 33 wins and 2-2 finish at last week’s Worth/KHSAA State Tournament in Owensboro.

“I’m really proud of both of them,” Kittens coach Dave Miller said. “I was a little disappointed McKenzie did not get first team. Both were huge cogs in our team’s success. McKenzie had a stellar season and career. Megan was tremendous in the circle and with the bat. Both of them went to five state tournaments.”

Hensley, the 2014 Gatorade Kentucky Player of the Year, landed a spot on the All-State Tournament team after leading the tournament in stikeouts for the second consecutive year with 46 in 28 innings. The junior righthander topped the 400 strikeout mark for the second year in a row and took a .561 season batting average to Owensboro.

Vanover slammed 14 home runs as a senior and 44 for her career — No. 2 on the state’s all-time list. She had 51 runs scored and a .451 batting average through regional tournament play.   

Boyd County’s Wheeler hit .479 during her senior year with eight homers, 53 runs, 41 RBIs and 52 stolen bases in 53 attempts. Boyd County coach Geoff Stewart called the All-State first team honor a good way for Wheeler to go out.

She was also voted the 16th Region’s top player in the 16th Region by the KHSSCA.

“Taylor had an impressive senior year and great career,” Stewart said. “She deserves any honor that comes to her.”

Menifee County’s Brewer struck out 249 batters this season to go with a 0.881 ERA and .444 batting average.

Fouts made a huge splash as an eighth-grader for East Carter with an 18-3 pitching record, .160 ERA and .411 batting average.

Johnson Central’s Williamson (.380, 4 HRs, 16 steals) and Fairchild (.440, 4 HRs, 30 RBI) were mainstays for the 15th Region champs.  

Several area players and coaches will participate in the East/West All-Star Series this weekend at Ballard High School in Louisville.

Wheeler, Vanover and Williamson are on the East senior roster, with Boyd County’s Stewart and Rowan County’s Larry Slone making up half of that squad’s coaching staff.

Local players on the East junior roster include Kenzi Martin and Lora Thompson of Boyd County, along with Ashland’s Megan Griffith.

Former Kentucky Miss Softball Amber Riddle of Rowan County is among the inductees for the Kentucky Prep Softball Hall of Fame on Saturday night at the Ramada Plaza.   

ROCKY STANLEY can be reached at rstanley@dailyindependent.com or (606) 326-2671.

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