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Lawnboy's 9th Region/NKY Preview


Lawnboy13

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It's been a New Year's Day tradition of mine for the past 3 or 4 years, and will continue today with "MY" 9th Region/NKY Softball Preview. This year, lets take a look at all the teams, before I rank them. Going to start with the small schools division and work up to the big dogs.

(In parentheses are the players 2015 awards, many are multi-year award winners).

 

Division III

 

Bellevue Tigers - Unfortunately for the Lady Tigers, they will be under the direction of their 5th head coach in as many years. They do return a few good athletes in Jr. Linzie Murphy & So. Regan Atwood, and also return one of the best overall athletes in all of DIII, in Sr. Kira Ross (DIII 1st Team).

 

Calvary Christian Cougars - The Lady Cougars will be under the leadership of former NKU asst. coach Chip Gregg. Unfortunately, he will be without the services of Dayne Merkley (DIII 1st Team) who graduated, but the Cougars return a few starters from last years squad in Jr. Bree Fain, Sr. Laura Leichter, & Fr. Olivia Palasek (DIII 2nd Team).

 

Covington Latin Trojans - Early word on the street is Head Coach Carey Heuer and the Lady Trojans will only be playing a JV schedule this season due to the fact that they only have 2 seniors, Angela Warning & Kennedy McGuire, on the team to go along with frosh & soph.

 

Dayton Greendevils - Unfortunately for Coach Beth Fields-Hunt, she will be without the services for the 1st time in 4 years of the departed Sam Scott (DIII 2nd Team) and Felicia Watts (DIII 1st Team). However, returning back for the 2016 campaign, DIII POY runner-up, Fr. Grace Workman, and 2 members of the DIII 2nd Team, in Emma & Kilee Donelan. One thing you can count on when you play the Greendevils, no matter the score, they play hard and maintain a positive attitude.

 

Heritage Academy Eagles - One thing you can count on when you play the Eagles, there is going to be a Mullins girl on the field. Besides Head Coach Joe Mullins, there are daughters 7th grader Grace, Jr. Maddie Mullins (DIII 1st Team) & Sr. Hayley Mullins (DIII 2nd Team). They will be joined by Sr. Siera Berkemeier (DIII 2nd Team).

 

Ludlow Panthers - 2nd year head coach Jason Stallkamp returns two DIII 1st team members in Sr. pitcher Kendall Trent and Jr. Jayna Crawford. The Panthers are going to be heavily loaded with Jr. And Sr. players this year, which could bode well for them.

 

Villa Madonna Blue Lightning - Like at Heritage, Villa head coach Dave Meier has 3 daughters on the team. Besides 6th grader Camdyn Meier, there is Sr. Alexa Meier (DIII 1st Team) and the unanimous DIII P.O.Y, Fr. Brooke Meier. Another solid addition to the line-up is Fr. Anna Wagner (DIII 1st Team). Look for the Blue Lightning to claim the DIII Conference crown.

 

Division II

 

Beechwood Tigers - Head Coach Flora Fields returns a very heavy Jr./Sr. laden roster (14 players), most of whom have plenty of varsity experience. Tigers are also going to need to find a replacement in the circle for the departed, Casey Grant.

 

Bishop Brossart Mustangs - Good thing for head coach, Tom Baynum, is he returns a boatload of starters, including All-State catcher Amanda Lloyd. The Stangs also bring back a senior laden core in, Ashley Childress, Amanda Graus, Riley Orth, & Kaitlyn Seiter. Brossart only graduated two seniors, Jordyn Boesch & Karlie Schakelford, and despite the loss of pitcher Karlie Schakelford (DII 2nd Team), the Stangs have a very nice replacement in Jr. Megan Seiter. The Stangs should have another solid season.

 

Highlands Bluebirds - By far the favorite to win the 9th Region title this season, the Birds and coach Rob Coffey only lose one player to graduation in 3rd basemen, Whitney Quillen (DII 1st Team). The "cake-eaters" from the Fort return a wealth of talent for the 2016 campaign all around the horn. Everything starts with 1st Team All-State catcher, 2 time DII P.O.Y., and Louisville bound, Shelby Graybill. Also you add in, hard-hitting 1st basemen Brennah Dutcher (DII 1st Team), 5 year varsity starting pitcher, Bailey Spencer (DII 1st Team), and one of the best defensive SS in Haley Coffey and you have a very solid core. The Birds have a nice complement of younger talent that did a solid job last year in Jr. Taylor Baioni, So. Josie Daley, So. Brooke Dill, Jr. Kara Fornash, & one of the most talented freshmen in NKY, Rachel Gabbard.

 

Holmes Bulldogs - 1st year head coach, Davana Herron, with the assistance of Jimmy Huhn will have to find a replacement in the circle for the departed Sr. Taylor Brashear. Early indication say that goes to either Sr. Katlin Ashcraft or Fr. Kaitlynn Cooper . Around the horn the Dawgs return 3 sisters in Sr. Keyonah Graham, Jr. Seyonna Graham, & Fr. Kamari Graham (DII 2nd Team). BTW, Kamari Graham has got an absolute rifle for an arm, the young lady can pick it at the hot corner.

 

Holy Cross Indians - Head Coach Lee Meeks returns just about all of his starters back from last season, many of whom were 8th graders. This group might take their lumps, but with a mostly young team, it bodes well for the future. Returning starters include Fr. Madaline Hyde, Fr. Natalie Sparling, Jr. Courtney Turner, Fr. Kaitlin Turner, as well as, Sr. Ashley Meeks. The Indians do return one of the better athletes in NKY in Jr. Alehia Tucker (DII 1st Team), she has been a varsity starter since 7th grade (7th Dixie, 8th Holmes, 9-11 Holy Cross).

 

Lloyd Juggernauts - Good thing for head coach Rick Walker, is that he still has the pitching services of Jr. Rachel Crawford and has a lot of Frosh & Soph. (only 2 Sr. & 1 Jr. on the roster) who saw a great deal of varsity starts last season. However, he will definitely miss the services of the graduated, Jordan Gentry (DII 1st Team)....the young lady could play. The Juggs will be in the same boat as Holy Cross....young, but building for the future.

 

Newport Wildcats - Head coach Scott Taylor and the Atkins Bros. will be in desperate need of finding a replacement for 4 year varsity starting pitcher, Katlyn Hoeh (DII 2nd Team), as well as, catcher Emily Atkins. The Wildcats do return 5 year varsity starter, the very athletic, Sr. Kylie Orr (DII 2nd Team). Coach Taylor do have some nice younger talent in Fr. Mirena Combs & So. Caralynn Wallace. Also, 8th grader Morgan Barnes who started last year, is the potential to be the best player on this team.

 

Newport Catholic Thoroughbreds - Coach Denny Barnes and staff will be looking to replace 4 four year varsity starters (2nd Casey Kohls (DII 2nd Team), SS Michaela Ware, 3rd Loren Zimmerman DII 2nd Team), C Kristen Schreiber (All-State HM & DII 1st Team) & a 3 year varsity starter (CF Morgan Martini). The good news is they have the pitching services of Jr. Haley Meyers (All-State 2nd Team & DII P.O.Y. Runner-Up), however the bad news, they now have to find someone to catch her (possibly Jr. Alex Burkart or Fr. Kacy Zimmerman). Other starters returning include, 1st basemen Jr. Kennedy Bin, more than likely SS So. Lexy Breen, & OF Jr. Kathryn Schreiber. Look for Alex Burkart (DLG 2.0) to be at 3rd, OF, or catch). Look for quite a few of the 8 incoming freshmen, who were part of the 24-0 frosh squad, to be getting starting nods off the bat as well. Might take a few weeks to get things straightened out, line-up wise, with so many new positions to fill.

 

St. Henry Crusaders - Coach Freedom Fogt lost 3 solid players from last years team in 3B Molly Dietz, P Jordan Kramer (DII 2nd Team), & 2B Carlie Roark. The Lady Cru do return a very good core of senior leadership in JoAnna Rebitski, Danielle Vogt, & Teresa Urban. Also one of the better players in the region the past for 4 years in Sr. catcher, Gabby Stewart (DII 1st Team). The Cru will be looking for pitching, which could fall to Jr. Jessie Roark (DII 2nd Team), and they do have a nice complement of younger talent in So. Ashley Pollard, So. Carlie Townsend, & Jr. Matti Kerwin.

 

Division I

 

Boone County Rebels - Sometimes this team doesn't pass the "eye test", but Coach Andy Petridis' kids "get it done". The Lady Rebels only lost one player to graduation last year, catcher Haley Delaney (DI 1st Team), but return one of the top pitchers in the 9th Region in So. Olivia Jackson (DI 1st Team). Also returning to the starting line-up on Burlington Pike is a load of experience in Jr's. Makenna Black, Jayda Collins, Ryley Grau, & Kamryn Huff. Look for Sr. Sydney Foster (DI 2nd Team) to have another stellar year. This is a team that you can't sleep on.

 

Campbell County Camels - Coaches Sandi & Bob Kitchen only lost 2 seniors from last years squad, 2B Jessica Verst (Thomas More), and will have to find a replacement in the circle for pitcher Mallory McGarth (DI 1st Team). The Camels return a bunch of starters, and it looks like the pitching duties will fall upon Fr. Jessica Walsh. Other returning starters include, Jr. OF Sarah Teerhar, Fr. C Becca Mitchell, Sr. 1B Brittany Fornash, & the talented SS Jr. Danielle Orick. However, watch out for Fr. CF McKinlee Miller, can cover all kinds of ground....CRAZY speed!!! This young lady as big-time upside to her game.

 

Conner Cougars - Coach Koors is finally without 6 year varsity starter, Elizabeth Sims (DI P.O.Y Runner-Up), much to the pleasure of all 9th Region teams. However, "Biz" was the only senior on last years Cougar team. Looking to compete for the job in the circle this year are two Freshmen, Oliva Henry & Ashlee Jones. Seniors starters returning for Conner are SS Bethany Maines (DI 2nd Team), OF Kayci Mattlin, & 2B Jenna Hicks (DI 1st Team). The Cougars also return a very talented junior class with 3B Hannah Darling, OF Kayla Ellis, & one of the best catcher in Alexia Snelbaker (DI 1st Team). It's going to be interesting to see how this team reacts to not having Biz in the circle, however, you can't count this team out.

 

Cooper Jaguars - Coach Tony Fields lost 4 players to graduation none being a pitcher, however one was a catcher, but the Jags are in luck as they got a Jr. transfer from New Jersey, Cayla Petrowski. In the circle expect to see either Jr. Colleen Hume or So. Alex Dummit, as both saw action last year. It will be a pretty young line-up varsity starting wise, but one key returning starter roaming the outfield for a 3rd year will be Jr. CF Hailey Nicholas.

 

Dixie Heights Colonels - If ever there was a team decimated by graduation (7 seniors), then it is definitely the Red Colonels. Coach Roddy Stainforth is going to be looking to replace 7 varsity starters from last years squad, including a replacement for pitcher Courtney Garrett (DI 2nd Team), as well as OF Kaitlyn Buechel (DI 2nd Team) and 4 year starter 3B Mary Beth Odom (DI 1st Team). Two in coming senior starters return in 1B Madison Ingle and SS Ellis McCarthy, and they return one of the most promising players in NKY in Fr. Kaylee McGinn (2015 9th Region All-Tourney Team). This team will take plenty of lumps, but with one of the BEST coaching staffs in NKY, this team will get better game by game.

 

Notre Dame Pandas - The Pandas only lost one senior from last year, however it was 6 year varsity starter, Hayley Smith (2nd Team All-State & DI P.O.Y.). Just like with Conner and Biz, Pandas head coach, Joe Stephenson will be looking for someone to take over in the circle. Look for Sr. Katelyn Baker to get the job, as she had quite a few good outings the past season. The Pandas have a very nice group of starters returning this season including seniors, SS Rylee Stephenson & 1B Gabby Miller. The junior class is also loaded with the likes of OF Alecia Radford, 2015 Ludlow transfer and 2014 DIII P.O.Y. Cori Ladanyi, the Huston twins, Angela (DI 2nd Team) & Erica, & power hitting catcher Kennedy Baugh (DI 2nd Team). Despite the loss of Smith, this team is still going to be dangerous.

 

Simon Kenton Pioneers - Head Coach Jeff Morgan lost 2 starters to graduation, one being catcher Sam Perkins (DI 2nd Team), however he has a boat-load of talent returning.....albeit it's very young. Last year his team had 4 starters that were 6th grader and a 5th that was a 8th grader, YES varsity starters! This team once again will take it's lumps against some teams, however, it is only a matter of 2 to 3 years that if they all stay together this team will be delivering the lumps. Leading the team this year will be seniors, Hannah Perry & Hayley Reynolds. Joining them in the starting rotation for a 2nd year will be the talented 7th graders, Haley Perry, Tegan Turpin, Aubrey Dance, & Macy Krohman (DI 2nd Team). By the time these girls are freshmen........LOOK OUT!

 

Ryle Raiders - How many head coach do you know that can coach 3rd base while keeping the book? Back for his 3rd year at the helm of the Raiders is the hardest working coach in NKY, Craig Milburn. His Lady Raiders return every starter from last years team, and that includes two of the best in NKY. Sr. catcher McKenzi Dickerson (DI 1st Team) and So. SS Maclai Branson (DI 1st Team). If you have never seen the Branson girl play, you need to.....WOW! You can tell she was trained properly how to hit and field, her dad is former Major Leaguer and current Pittsburgh Pirate hitting coach, Jeff Branson. Other key returning starters include Sr. CF Mackenzie Irons, Sr. RF Sam North, & 8th grade 2B Mackai Dickerson. In the circle will be Jr. Kennady Carson, however I've heard that Fr. Hannah Bishop, who missed all of last season due to an injury, will add to the Raiders pitching staff.

 

Others outside the NKSCA

 

Walton-Verona Bearcats - Head Coach Marlin Gregg lost 2 players to graduation in Jaylene Anderson and Emily Quatkemeyer, however he does return a very nice stable of stars to his starting rotation. This years team is very senior laden with 1B Jennifer Brauer, OF Kaitlyn Cottrell, SS Olivia DeZarn, 2B Lexi Rouse, & 3B Abby Wassem. If I remember correctly, the pitching duties were shared by Lexi Rouse & Jr. Christene Valvano.....both do solid jobs. This is one team you can't take lightly,......they have players that can hit for power, and have a great coach at the helm.

 

 

My Pre-Season NKY Top 10

 

1. Highlands........9th Region Title is theirs to lose.

2. Notre Dame.....No Smith, but everyone else back.

2. Boone Co........Return 8 starters, & Jackson still in the circle.

4. Conner............No Biz, but everyone else is back.

5. Walton............Return 7 starters, and a great coach.

6. Brossart..........Return a good core, including a pitcher.

7. NewCath.........Hitting & defense will be the key early on.

8. St. Henry........If the pitching is there, Cru move up.

9. Ryle...............Young team, but could gel at the right time.

10. Campbell Co. Have a very nice core, with young talent.

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....and the TOP players would go like this IN MY OPINION.

 

I left WV players out, only because I don't see them as often as I do all the others.

 

Sweet 16 Players (alphabetically)

 

Kennedy Baugh.......Jr. Notre Dame

Maclai Branson........So. Ryle

Haley Coffey............Sr. Highlands

Mackenzi Dickerson Sr. Ryle

Brennah Dutcher.....Sr. Highlands

Sydney Foster.........Sr. Boone Co.

Shelby Graybill........Sr. Highlands

Jenna Hicks.............Sr. Conner

Olivia Jackson.........So. Boone County

Macy Krohman........7th. Simon Kenton

Amanda Lloyd.........Sr. Bishop Brossart

Haley Meyers..........Jr. Newport Catholic

Alexia Snelbaker.....Jr. Conner

Bailey Spencer........Sr. Highlands

Gabby Stewart........Sr. St. Henry

Alehia Tucker..........Jr. Holy Cross

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Great write up on all the teams. I know it's difficult to mention every player. However in the write up for Campbell County Ashley Leight should be mentioned. She is a two year starter and only a sophomore. She can play OF or IF and would assume she will share some of the pitching duties with Walsh. She is a really good athlete with good speed on the bases. She can hit for power and will steel some bases. Campbell County should be very good for the next few years with all the talent they have. It will be interesting to see if they can get over the hump and win their district. Bishop Brossart has owned them over the passed years. Should be a great battle this season.

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Great write up on all the teams. I know it's difficult to mention every player. However in the write up for Campbell County Ashley Leight should be mentioned. She is a two year starter and only a sophomore. She can play OF or IF and would assume she will share some of the pitching duties with Walsh. She is a really good athlete with good speed on the bases. She can hit for power and will steel some bases. Campbell County should be very good for the next few years with all the talent they have. It will be interesting to see if they can get over the hump and win their district. Bishop Brossart has owned them over the passed years. Should be a great battle this season.

 

Trust me, it's always my fear that I'll forget someone who deserves to be mentioned.

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Great write LB!!! Amazing how well you know NKY Softball. I think you are a little tough on your Breds though. Haley gives the Birds nothing but fits. I know this is a tough write when you list players to watch. Even though you are associated with the "Dark Side" on the Hill, I wanted to send a thanks. Except for the big target you planted squarely on the Birds backs!!!

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Highlands Bluebirds - By far the favorite to win the 9th Region title this season, the Birds and coach Rob Coffey only lose one player to graduation in 3rd basemen, Whitney Quillen (DII 1st Team). The "cake-eaters" from the Fort return a wealth of talent for the 2016 campaign all around the horn. Everything starts with 1st Team All-State catcher, 2 time DII P.O.Y., and Louisville bound, Shelby Graybill. Also you add in, hard-hitting 1st basemen Brennah Dutcher (DII 1st Team), 5 year varsity starting pitcher, Bailey Spencer (DII 1st Team), and one of the best defensive SS in Haley Coffey and you have a very solid core. The Birds have a nice complement of younger talent that did a solid job last year in Jr. Taylor Baioni, So. Josie Daley, So. Brooke Dill, Jr. Kara Fornash, & one of the most talented freshmen in NKY, Rachel Gabbard.

 

:thumb: :ylsuper:

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Lawnboy must have had a boring New Years, ha. Outstanding job as always, it amazes me how he knows so many players. It's is hard when you have to rate your own team, I would have NC a little higher. Hoping to get Cooper in that top ten and I think we have a couple of ladies will be in that top sixteen before the year is over. Once again thanks to the Lawnboy for all that he does for Northern Ky softball.

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Great write LB!!! Amazing how well you know NKY Softball. I think you are a little tough on your Breds though. Haley gives the Birds nothing but fits. I know this is a tough write when you list players to watch. Even though you are associated with the "Dark Side" on the Hill, I wanted to send a thanks. Except for the big target you planted squarely on the Birds backs!!!

 

Considering the talent we lost, we'll have some "growing pains" early on.

 

I don't think I'm the only one who would be placing a target on the Birds backs.

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Lawnboy must have had a boring New Years, ha. Outstanding job as always, it amazes me how he knows so many players. It's is hard when you have to rate your own team, I would have NC a little higher. Hoping to get Cooper in that top ten and I think we have a couple of ladies will be in that top sixteen before the year is over. Once again thanks to the Lawnboy for all that he does for Northern Ky softball.

 

I enjoy doing this for ALL the players and teams. We all know that softball is one of the least spectated high school sports in NKY, so getting some of these names out there will give some folks an idea of who they should try to see during the season if they can.

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Conner Cougars - Coach Koors is finally without 6 year varsity starter, Elizabeth Sims (DI P.O.Y Runner-Up), much to the pleasure of all 9th Region teams. However, "Biz" was the only senior on last years Cougar team. Looking to compete for the job in the circle this year are two Freshmen, Oliva Henry & Ashlee Jones. Seniors starters returning for Conner are SS Bethany Maines (DI 2nd Team), OF Kayci Mattlin, & 2B Jenna Hicks (DI 1st Team). The Cougars also return a very talented junior class with 3B Hannah Darling, OF Kayla Ellis, & one of the best catcher in Alexia Snelbaker (DI 1st Team). It's going to be interesting to see how this team reacts to not having Biz in the circle, however, you can't count this team out.

 

 

I'm looking forward to Olivia getting a lot of innings in the circle. Different pitcher than Biz. Doesn't throw as hard yet but has great control with some very nice off-speed. Strong D behind her will help.

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Clyde hits the nail on the head. Olivia Henry, very talented pitcher. Hits spots and changes speed. Keep hitters guessing and off balance. Gonna be fun to get to see her play. She is another key part of that Stealers summer team. They had another successful year with her on the mound.

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