I haven't been to every ball field or seen every team play, but I think I can give you a good idea of the Best of Western Kentucky softball. photos by Lance Dennee
My picks for a Fantasy Team:
Samantha Gillum, third base, Graves County — This kid's got a heck of an arm and she'll use it, as exemplifed in the First Region tournament.
Jordan Gilland, second base, Marshall County — Not sure I've seen her make but one routine play. The rest of her outs have been fly-through-the-air, dive-in-the-dirt. She's a hitter, too.
Sam Butts, shortstop, Calloway County — Butts was responsible for at least eight defensive outs against Reidland in the First Region championship game. She's hot at the bat, and definitely deserving of the Austin Peay softball scholarship.
Lindsey Bridges, first base, Lyon County — Softball savvy, Bridges lives up to her cleanup batter status.
Karson Canup, right field, Reidland — Canup loves to play softball and it shows when she runs into the dugout with a huge smile on her face after a third out. Canup's two shoestring catches helped seal pitcher Cassee Layne's no-hitter in the First Region championship win. She's a clutch hitter, too.
Lauren Elder, centerfield, Graves County — All-around good player who helped keep the Eagles alive in the opening round of the First Region tournament against Reidland with big catches in the outfield.
Brittany Fox, left field, Calloway County — Fox can hit the ball as evidenced with a 2-for-3, 2 RBI performance against Ballard Memorial in the semifinal game.
Emily Montgomery, catcher, Heath — Still a young one, Montgomery goes well with Heath pitcher Kelleigh Jones and everytime I've seen her, she's a hitter. Honorable mention: Morgan Harrell, Reidland.
Cassee Layne, pitcher, Reidland — Layne has a pocket full of tricks and she can hit nearly any spot in the strikezone at will. She's fast, accurate, and has a "baffling" changeup, as more than one opposing coach has reported. Honorable mentions: Kelleigh Jones, Heath, and Alexis Rodgers, Ballard Memorial. Both pitchers are fast, and hit the ball well. Rodgers could be the best batter in the region.
Best warm-up music: Calloway County. The only school to play Old Crowe Medicine Show's song 'Wagon Wheel' as a peppy tune. Also, not even the radio stations play Taylor Swift's fun, alternate version of 'Picture to Burn'. Props to you, Lakers.
Best food: Heath. Grilled chicken and the occassional barbecue keeps Dusty from punching into McDonald's. Honorable mention goes to Ballard Memorial. The Bombers are the only school I've found to serve french fries. Way to go.
Quotable coach: Jennifer Burnham, Marshall County. She insists her best stuff be off record, but she doesn't lack for words.
Best uniforms: Calloway County. A nice blend of navy and red, without being too busy, shiny or plain.
Best 2008 surprise: Graves County. Going 8 innings with Reidland is an accomplishment. Beating Ballard Memorial for the Third District championship is admirable. And with only two seniors lost, look for the Eagles to be a competitor next season.