Monday, August 2, 2010

Here we go...

While perusing the Associated Press' photo wire (which can truly be entertaining - some of those photographers get awesome shots. I always wish we had more room for photos, because there are millions of words in some), I found this nugget:

That's Austen Lane in the No. 92 jersey, participating in defensive drills with the Jacksonville Jaguars. Lane, a former defensive end for Murray State, is the highest drafted player from any Racer squad, being drafted in the fifth round.

Lane, from Iola, Wisc., never was thrilled about the western Kentucky heat and humidity. I wonder how he likes Jacksonville?

Hopefully we'll see a lot more of these photos in the upcoming years.

Saturday, June 12, 2010


Reidland's state softball tournament semifinal game against Allen County-Scottsville in photographic form:

Let's call this one Joy. Well, her name is actually Hope Davidson, but Morgan Harrell's double getting Reidland back into the game Saturday was a cause for pure joy.

Futility. Mama Harbison is exasperated at her daughter's plate appearance, less having to do with her daughter's actual performance, but because of a call behind the plate. Shock, shown below Mama Harbison. She didn't like the call, either.

Anger. This Greyhound papa is more than angry, and based on observing him at other games, I believe the cause was the fellas in blue. ;)

Hope. Not Davidson. Mrs. Coach style. Not sure if she was praying or just too sick in the stomach and heart to look, but two outs in the bottom of the seventh with the game tied might've made me look away if I had a kiddo playing in the game.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Long, long long day

It's 11:21 p.m. here in Owensboro, and I'm just now thinking about winding down from all of this hoopla at the Kentucky state softball tournament.

The day went a little something like this:

Wake up at 5:30 a.m. Out the door by 6:30 a.m.

Actually make not one, but two wrong turns out of my neighborhood on my way to O'Boro, I'm that disoriented (remember folks, I've been working vampire hours since the end of last August).

Get to Jack C. Fisher Park in time to settle in properly and unpack my portable office (which now includes a cooler and rain gear).

Watch Reidland's first round game begin at exactly 9:04 a.m. (Greyhounds win 2-1 over Green County)

Eat a lovely lunch courtesy of the KHSAA.

Watch Reidland's second round game begin late. Decide too late that I should have been taking pictures during the game. Endure a brief downpour and a lightning delay. (Greyhounds win 6-0 over Shelby County).

Bolt out of the park to check into the hotel and grab a shower.

Come back to ballpark at 6:15 p.m. in anticipation of Reidland's third-round game against Mercy, which was supposed to start at 6:30 p.m.

Eat a $2 hot dog (still not as good as Joe Morris' at Mayfield) and wait for about an hour for the field to clear for the big game.

Freak out a little bit at the showdown between the batters box and the circle as Reidland's batters challenged the lengthy wait presented by the Jaguars before nearly EVERY pitch.

At 8:37 p.m., head back to the upstairs pressbox to update notes on computer when Reidland's game against Mercy, along with the other games going on, is lightning delayed.

At 9:32, game is resumed.

At 10:43, game is finally ended, with a 11-1 Reidland win in six innings.

Interview Reidland catcher Morgan Harrell in light speed (yes, Morgan, I could read almost all of my notes when I got back up to the pressbox) and Reidland coach Tony Hayden.

Turn in last of two stories by 11:16 p.m., which is technically past my deadline.

Now, to head back to the hotel, and hope I can get up in time for the free buffet breakfast. Good night!

Reidland at State Softball Tournament

In the first round game, Reidland beat Green County, 2-1, advancing to play Shelby County at 12:15 p.m. today at Owensboro's Jack C. Fisher Park.

Reidland hasn't won a first round game in the tournament since 2002, the last time the Greyhounds won a state title.

Cassee Layne gave up four hits to the power-hitting Dragons, allowing one run.

The Greyhounds had seven hits, scoring two runs during a crazy chain of events. Kalie Harbison, Hope Davidson, and pinch hitter Rachael Dodd all got on base with hits, with Dodd's single scoring pinch runner Kennedy Powers. Powers ran into the catcher at the plate, the catcher dropped the ball, and Powers scrambled in the dirt to touch the plate for Reidland's first run of the game. Dragons pitcher Kasey Estes hit pinch hitter Maegan Freeman to load the bases, and Miranda Mullen's fielder's choice brought in another run.


Has anyone seen I believe it was Jay Leno's show (pre the Conan fiasco), where they had the game, Make Betty White Flinch? And Betty White had to stand behind a thick sheet of plexi glass and try not to flinch while water balloons, watermelons, etc., were flung at the plexi glass?

I'd like to call this picture, Make Morgan Harrell Flinch, as Harrell tightly closes her eyes to catch the screaming pitch of Cassee Layne. I wish the ump's face was clearer, because I imagine he was just as flinchy, taking several painful foul balls to the face mask in the first game.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Postseason Accolades

My choices for an All-First Region softball team are a little different than that voted on by the coaches for the actual awards. But, I went ahead and picked out some of the top players in the region based on what I have SEEN, not necessarily based on year-round statistics. I have not watched every team play, therefore I might be missing a stud here or there. But, again, based on the games I have watched, and the performances of the players during THOSE games, my picks for postseason accolades go a little like this:

Allee Moore, short stop, Marshall County: My jaw dropped when Moore told me she was just a sophomore playing in the infield. Once a catcher for Marshall, Moore was moved to short stop this season to fill holes left by graduation. Her arm is much needed on the left side of the field, and her glove is quick. Her bat is deceptively good, all the while batting in the seven-hole.

Lauren Benson, third base, Calloway County: Benson is active at the position, seems to have plenty of vocal leadership even as a sophomore, and has a nice bat, as well, for the Lakers.

Morgan Harrell, catcher, Reidland: Harrell doesn’t get to use her rocket arm too much since pitcher Cassee Layne tends to keep opposing players off base. But at last count, Harrell was batting over .400 and had six home runs this season. Late in the season, she seemed to be best in clutch situations.

Molly Hargrove, pitcher, Ballard Memorial: To barely pitch a varsity game before her senior year, Hargrove made sure not an ounce was missing in the circle after last year’s graduation of hard-thrower Alexis Rodgers. Hargrove threw every bit as hard it seemed, this season, and seemed to adore her transition from center field to the circle. The slap hitter was batting over .500 at the end of the season.

Karlee Wilson, sshort stop, Calloway County: Wilson, also just a sophomore, is a rising talent at the position with a rocket arm and quick feet. Just to watch her, you can tell she has plenty of softball savvy and enough sense at the plate to make things happen.

Brooke Yates, pitcher, Hickman County: Likely the most underrated player in the region the last few seasons, Yates had a tremendous senior season after sustaining a back injury her junior year. While her pitching was a big part of the Falcons’ success this season, her bat and base running abilities certainly didn’t hurt the cause, either.

Kelleigh Jones, pitcher, Heath: Jones has been a stalwart for the Pirates for the past three seasons, with plenty of pitches and a steady change up. Her real strength lies in her utilities: Her bat is just as trusty as any in the region, and the one time I watched her play in right field, she rolled on the ground for two catches.
At right, Emily Montgomery throws back to third base while Kelleigh Jones backs up the plate in Heath's First District championship loss. Photo by Sun photographer John Wright.

Emily Montgomery, catcher, Heath: Another one of the all-around best players in the region. Montgomery’s bat speaks every bit as loudly as her catching ability, which she does exceptionally.

Kendra Sanders, center field, Lone Oak: While her bat wasn’t quite “on” at the end of the season, Sanders has the capabilities to send the ball in the outfield (or at least just foul off dozens of pitches to tire out opposing pitchers until she gets what she likes) while possessing great speed and movement of her own in center field.

Pitcher of the Year: Cassee Layne, Reidland. While Layne is still a little bit from being back to her old self afterr multiple illnesses and injuries the past year, she’s still an impressive force in the circle. Her talent is most notable when she’s gone: In the few big games the Greyhounds played without her throwing pitches, things didn’t go so well, and the team generally seems to play better while she’s throwing. Her ability to bring the team together is more impressive than any one of her curving pitches.

Coach of the Year: Shane Bizzle. Not a bad season to get Hickman County it’s first fast pitch softball regional tournament victory, all the while dealing with late-in-the-season injuries and illnesses. Photo by Sun photographer John Wright.

The Honorable Mention list (which should probably just be lumped into the All-Region list, since there’s not much that separates the talented players in the region, anyway)

Brittany Fox, right field, Calloway County: Fox, a senior, has also been an anchor in the outfield for the Lakers the past few years, also carrying weight as a No. 5 hitter in the line up.

Kristen Boggess, catcher, Calloway County: With her senior season approaching, look for the dynamic hitter to be one of the best catchers in the region.

Buzz Ray, right field, Marshall County: Ray could easily be on the “first” team list with her powerful hitting and athleticism, but is just a freshman this season. She will be trouble for the next three seasons.

Taylor Sheerer, center field, Heath: Another likely “first” teamer, Sheerer’s offense seemed a little frustrated by the end of the season, but she still, without a doubt, possesses one of the strongest arms in the region.

Sarah Kreuter, short stop, Lone Oak: Only a freshman, Kreuter made great plays at her position this season, and had one of the biggest bats on the team.

Heather Hayden, center field, Reidland: Hayden doesn’t get enough credit, being stuck in the bottom of Reidland’s line up and often substituted for bigger hitters. But no one is better at putting down a more perfect bunt, and having enough speed to turn it into a hit rather than a sacrifice.

Amanda Wade and Casey Wade, pitchers, Graves County: OK, so it’s unfair to lump the sisters into one category, but their play is so similar, you can’t help it. Both pitch for the Eagles, though Amanda plays first and Casey plays short when each is not in the circle. Their bats are a little sporadic, but when they connect, they’ve got plenty of power.

Ashley Dailey, catcher, Mayfield: With Dailey behind the plate, expect to see Mayfield make it to the postseason in the next two seasons if she can get some company out in the field. Dailey comes up the plate ready to hit, and in the game and a half I watched her play, is completely confident in her own abilities.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

We'll try this again...

Here comes Dusty Luthy Shull, blogging, round two. I'll try updating this blog about once a week, maybe more, depending on what's going on. Comment if you'd like.