Megan Hensley’s exceptional high school softball season gained more widespread attention than she imagined.
The Ashland Blazer standout has been named to the MaxPreps Softball Underclass All-American Team.
Hensley was one of a dozen sophomore pitchers in the country to be recognized.
Her 403 strikeouts in 219 innings led Kentucky and ranked fourth nationally.
Interestingly, Hensley found out about her All-America honor accidentally while browsing online.
“I was pretty excited,” she said. “It surprised me. They didn’t send me any notification. One day I clicked on my link for MaxPreps and it popped up.”
Hensley won 24 games and posted a 0.99 earned run average in leading Ashland to a fifth consecutive 16th Region championship. The Kittens went 2-2 at the State Tournament.
“It seemed like I had a pretty good season,” said the All-Area Pitcher of the Year. “I hope next year will be even better. I’d like to get on the big All-America team.”
Ashland coach Dave Miller shared in Hensley’s excitement about her national accolade.
“I think it’s phenomenal,” Miller said. “Megan’s very, very deserving. She worked tremendously hard. I couldn’t be prouder.”
Miller called it a huge honor for Hensley as well as Ashland’s program.
“I didn’t how it was awarded or presented,” he said. “I didn’t have to nominate her or anything.”
Other pitching highlights of Hensley’s sophomore season: Three consecutive no-hitters and a dozen shutouts overall. She also struck out at least 10 batters in a game 27 times.
The hard-throwing righthander was a finalist for Gatorade Player of the Year in Kentucky.
“This game, like it or not, begins in the circle,” Miller said. “When you have a dominant force, you can ride it a long way. That’s what Megan did for us. She carried us a long way.”
Along with her pitching prowess, Hensley batted .391 with 35 RBIs.
This summer, Hensley played for the Diamond Dusters travel team out of West Virginia. Coached by Adam LaLonde of the USA National Olympic Team, the Dusters competed in showcase events in Atlanta, Chattanooga, Tenn., and Rock Hill, S.C.
The next few months, Hensley will be a member of the Ashland Blazer volleyball team.
“I played my freshman year but not last season,” she said. “It gives me a little break (from softball), so I don’t take the chance of getting burned out.”
Sophomore Courtney Rogers of West Virginia state softball champion Hurricane was selected to the same MaxPreps team as a utility player.
ROCKY STANLEY can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (606) 326-2671.