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After failing to win the 5th Region Softball Tournament in 2012, the Central Hardin Lady Bruins are fully expected to go back to the state tournament this year.
When a statewide coaches’ poll was released Monday, the Lady Bruins found themselves at the top of the 5th Region preseason rankings.
While that was news to Central Hardin coach Jamie Goodman, it wasn’t entirely unexpected.
“I hadn’t seen that and I hadn’t even looked for it,” Goodman said Tuesday afternoon. “I guess everyone will be shooting at us then, right? But it’s a good honor to get.
“It’s a nice honor, but it doesn’t mean a whole lot until you start playing,” he added. “I mean, I like being the favorite and I like having that pressure. And I think the girls will work harder and play harder when people are gunning for them.”
Central Hardin went 26-11 last season, beating Elizabethtown for the 17th District Tournament title before falling to eventual champion Green County in the region tournament final.
The Lady Bruins return plenty of talent, including four preseason region top-10 picks in senior second baseman Jordan Lasley (first), sophomore shortstop Kelsey McGuffin (fourth), senior corner infielder Jackie Holbert (sixth) and junior pitcher/outfielder Jessica Nall (eighth).
“It’s an honor for all of them for to be ranked and I wouldn’t downgrade any player ranked in our top 10 because you can’t see all the players play all the time,” Goodman said.
Rounding out the top 10 players were Marion County junior pitcher Ashley Walls (second), Elizabethtown freshman shortstop Erin Boley (third), Green County senior infielder Rachel Marr (fifth), Bardstown Bethlehem sophomore catcher/infielder Abi Duncan (seventh), Nelson County senior catcher/outfielder Ashley Seaman (ninth) and Bethlehem junior pitcher/shortstop Alex Newton.
“It’s a great honor, but at the end of the day, it’s about what we do as a team,” Lasley said. “To me, preseason rankings don’t mean much. At the end of the district and region tournament is when it really matters who comes out No. 1.”
Rounding out the top 10 teams were Marion County, Elizabethtown, Green County, Taylor County, LaRue County, North Hardin, Adair County, Washington County and Hart County.
Counting the flex player/designated hitter, Elizabethtown returns 8-of-10 starters from last year’s team which matched Central Hardin by advancing to the region tournament semifinals.
Elizabethtown coach Matt Mardis was surprised by the lofty expectations placed on his still-young team.
“Are you kidding me? Wow. OK. All right,” Mardis said. “That’s unexpected, but it’s nice to hear I guess. First time in a while for us, I’m sure.”
The regular-season opens a month from today. The 17th District Tournament is tentatively scheduled to start May 20 at Elizabethtown, while Nelson County will host the region tournament beginning May 27.
In the 3rd Region, Meade County picked up a pair of honors as junior shortstop Ashley Nikolao was tabbed as the top player in the region, while junior outfielder Chaselyn Allgeier was picked third.
“Well, that’s good because Ashley deserves it. I’ve never coached one that’s better,” said veteran Meade County coach Mike Harreld. “And Chaselyn doesn’t surprise me because she had a great year last year. She’s been working really hard, so I’m expecting her to have another good year this year.”
However, Meade County was nowhere to be found in the region’s top 10 teams, which were Owensboro Catholic, Owensboro Apollo, Muhlenberg County, Daviess County, Grayson County, Butler County, Hancock County, Edmonson County, Breckinridge County and Owensboro.
“That doesn’t surprise me because we graduated a lot. We’re extremely young with only one senior (Megan Aebersold) who even started for us last year,” Harreld said. “But I think with our younger kids, that will motivate them quite a bit. They’ll want to prove they’re better than that.”
Nathaniel Bryancan be reached at (270) 505-1758 or email@example.com.
COACHES’ PRESEASON REGIONAL TOP 10 TEAMS
2. Marshall Co.
3. Lone Oak
6. Calloway Co.
7. Graves Co.
8. St. Mary
9. Carlisle Co.
10. Ballard Memorial
1. Livingston Central
2. Christian Co.
3. Henderson Co.
5. Hopkins Central
6. Union Co.
8. Webster Co.
10. Lyon Co.
1. Owensboro Catholic
3. Muhlenberg Co.
4. Daviess Co.
5. Grayson Co.
6. Butler Co.
7. Hancock Co.
8. Edmonson Co.
9. Breckinridge Co.
2. Bowling Green
3. Warren East
5. Allen Co.
6. Metcalfe Co.
7. Barren Co.
9. South Warren
10. Clinton Co.
1. Central Hardin
2. Marion Co.
4. Green Co.
5. Taylor Co.
6. LaRue Co.
7. North Hardin
8. Adair Co.
9. Washington Co.
10. Hart Co.
4. Bullitt East
5. Holy Cross
6. Bullitt Central
7. Fern Creek
5. Sacred Heart
1. Oldham Co.
3. Anderson Co.
4. Gallatin Co.
5. Walton Verona
6. Owen Co.
7. Simon Kenton
8. Spencer Co.
9. North Oldham
10. South Oldham
3. Boone Co.
4. Notre Dame
5. Dixie Heights
7. St. Henry
8. Newport Catholic
1. Harrison Co.
2. Bourbon Co.
3. Montgomery Co.
4. Nicholas Co.
5. Clark Co.
6. Bracken Co.
7. Bishop Brossart
8. Mason Co.
9. Campbell Co.
1. Scott Co.
4. Madison Central
5. Franklin Co.
6. Woodford Co.
7. Tates Creek
8. Henry Clay
9. Madison Southern
10. Western Hills
1. Boyle Co.
2. East Jessamine
5. Lincoln Co.
6. Mercer Co.
7. Pulaski Co.
9. McCreary Central
10. West Jessamine
1. North Laurel
2. South Laurel
5. Harlan Co.
6. Whitley Co.
7. Knox Central
8. Clay Co.
9. Bell Co.
1. Estill Co.
2. Perry Central
4. Letcher Central
5. Powell Co.
6. Breathitt Co.
7. Leslie Co.
8. Jackson City
9. Lee Co.
1. Johnson Central
2. East Ridge
3. Magoffin Co.
4. Lawrence Co.
6. Shelby Valley
9. Pike Central
1. Boyd Co.
4. West Carter
5. Rowan Co.
6. Greenup Co.
7. Rowan Co.
8. Fleming Co.
10. Menifee Co.
COACHES’ PRESEASON REGIONAL TOP 10 PLAYERS
1. Breanne Ray Sr. Marshall Co.
2. Mallory Young Sr. Marshall Co.
3. Hope Davidson Sr. Reidland
4. Sarah Kreuter Sr. Lone Oak
5. Neely Quint Jr. Heath
6. Audrey Dodd Fr. Reidland
7. Hannah Ridolfi So. Reidland
8. Jacqueline Roof Sr. Lone Oak
9. Elizabeth Grogan So. Murray
10. Casey Wade Jr. Graves Co.
1. Jordan McNary Sr. Hopkins Central
2. Maggie Glass Sr. Christian Co.
3. Katekyn McMillan Jr. Henderson Co.
4. Adarian Gray Fr. Madisonville
5. Tiffany Padon So. Livingston Central
6. Hannah Tow Jr. Hopkins Central
7. Hailee Lampley Jr. Livingston Central
8. Morgan CunninghamSr. Christian Co.
9. Ayla Hendrickson So. Union Co.
10. Courtney Walker Sr. Livingston Central
1. Ashley Nikolao Jr. Meade Co.
2. Brittany Murphy Sr.Owensboro Catholic
3. Chaselyn Allgeier Jr. Meade Co.
4. Lillie Goetz So.Owensboro Catholic
5. Hayley Frey Sr.Owensboro Catholic
6. Hannah Lee Sr. Breckinridge Co.
7. Taylor Fenwick Sr. Apollo
8. Markie Smith Sr. Muhlenberg Co.
9. Jessika Young Sr. Grayson Co.
10. Catlin Armstrong Sr. Daviess Co.
1. Brittany Vaughn Sr. Bowling Green
2. Elizabeth Moss Jr. Greenwood
3. Aeron Smith Jr. Greenwood
4. Kathryn Downing Sr. Bowling Green
5. Emily Gravette Sr. Greenwood
6. Angela Adkins Sr. Greenwood
7. Brittany Rippy Sr. Allen Co.
8. Kelsey Greer Sr. Glasgow
9. Bailey Alexander Jr. Glasgow
10. Taylor McMurtrey Sr. Metcalfe Co.
1. Jordan Lasley Sr. Central Hardin
2. Ashley Walls Jr. Marion Co.
3. Erin Boley Fr. Elizabethtown
4. Kelsey McGuffin So. Central Hardin
5. Rachel Marr Sr. Green Co.
6. Jackie Holbert Sr. Central Hardin
7. Abi Duncan So. Bethlehem
8. Jessica Nall Jr. Central Hardin
9. Ashley Seaman Sr. Nelson Co.
10. Alex Newton Jr. Bethlehem
1. Jordan Vorbrink So. Mercy
2. Morgan Meyer Sr. Mercy
3. Savannah Mercer Jr. PRP
4. Morgan Raymer Jr. Bullitt East
5. Caroline Keck Sr. Mercy
6. Madison Ray Sr. Holy Cross
7. Katelyn Heiness Sr. Holy Cross
8. Sarah Bibb So. Fern Creek
9. Taylor Alvey Jr. Bullitt East
10. McKenna Brinley Sr. Jeffersontown
1. Alexia Hull So. Ballard
2. Savannah Madison Sr. Manual
3. Hannah Gray Jr. Ballard
4. Lilly Nitzken Jr. Assumption
5. Jessica Adell Jr. Ballard
6. Alexandra Miozza Sr. Male
7. Cassidy Cook So. CAL
8. Kaitlyn Holden Jr. Sacred Heart
9. Casey Smith Sr. Eastern
10. Sadie Cohen Sr. Manual
1. Jessica Leanhart Sr. Oldham Co.
2. Sarah Lopesilvero Sr. Oldham Co.
3. Bailey Rankin Sr. Collins
4. Brooke Dossett Jr. Gallatin Co.
5. Bailey Curry 8th Anderson Co.
6. Courtney Galvan Jr. South Oldham
7. K.K. Rigdon Jr. Oldham Co.
8. Emily Lykins Sr. Spencer Co.
9. Rebecca WishnevskiSr. Oldham Co.
10. Hannah Thacker Jr. Walton-Verona
1. McKell Oliverio Sr. Ryle
2. Elizabeth Sims So. Conner
3. Ali Crupper Jr. Ryle
4. Sydney Himes Jr. Conner
5. Dallis Knotts Jr. Boone Co.
6. Jessica Koors Jr. Cooper
7. Kelsey Hammes Jr. Ryle
8. Erika Stein Sr. Boone Co.
9. Lauren Willett Sr. Cooper
10. Noelle Butts Sr. St. Henry
1. Ashley Coppage Sr. Harrison Co.
2. Mercedes Stanfield Sr. Bourbon Co.
3. Miranda Ingram Sr. Bourbon Co.
4. Kolbi Mitchell Jr. GRC
5. Megan Arrasmith So. Montgomery Co.
6. Megan Bretz So. Nicholas Co.
7. Reesa Martin Sr. Nicholas Co.
8. Emma Conley Jr. Bracken Co.
9. Shannon Bertz Sr. Nicholas Co.
10. Morgan Florence Sr. Harrison Co.
1. Michal Luckett Sr. Scott Co.
2. Marlee Tevis Jr. Scott Co.
3. Jamie Vescio Sr. Lafayette
4. Kara Howard Jr. Franklin Co.
5. Kaitlyn Elias Sr. Dunbar
6. Riley Stokes Sr. Henry Clay
7. McKenna Brown Sr. Western Hills
8. Katelyn Mitchell Jr. Lafayette
9. Katie Brock Jr. Madison Central
10. Finley Yuttayong Sr. Tates Creek
1. Hannah Miniard Sr. Boyle Co.
2. Sydney Fourman Jr. Southwestern
3. Ashley Harley Sr. Mercer Co.
4. Cyndol Kiser Fr. McCreary Central
5. Lauren Rice Sr. Somerset
6. Katharine Holmes Sr. Somerset
7. Jessica Upchurch Sr. Wayne Co.
8. Destiny Molden So. Southwestern
9. Bethany Edwards Sr. Somerset
10. Tori Bell So. Wayne Co.
1. Megan Baldwin Sr. North Laurel
2. Hannah Hart Jr. Corbin
3. Hagan Burns Jr. South Laurel
4. Amber Hyde Sr. South Laurel
5. Sidney Herrell Sr. North Laurel
6. Lesley Roberts So. Clay Co.
7. Emily Sears Sr. North Laurel
8. Jadon Dopel Sr. Whitley Co.
9. Lindsey Barton Jr. Corbin
10. Vanessa Smith Sr. North Laurel
1. Rachel Robinson Sr. Estill Co.
2. Kim Barnett Sr. Breathitt Co.
3. Grace Bio Fr. Jackson City
4. Melissa Bartley Fr. Jenkins
5. Paige Shepherd Sr. Leslie Co.
6. Emily Thatcher Jr. Breathitt Co.
7. Krana Puckett Sr. Estill Co.
8. Pam Senastian Sr. Perry Central
9. Marissa Davidson Jr. Leslie Co.
10. MacKenzie Angel So. Estill Co.
1. Brooke Williamson Jr. Johnson Central
2. Chole Blair Sr. Johnson Central
3. Kristen Caudill Sr. Lawrence Co.
4. Rebeckah Fairchild So. Johnson Central
5. Tabitha Potter Sr. East Ridge
6. Rachelle Fairchild So. Johnson Central
7. Hannah Skaggs Fr. Magoffin Co.
8. Teena Rowe Sr. East Ridge
9. Mariah Newsome Jr. Shelby Valley
10. Mollie Blackburn Sr. Pikeville
1. Emily Stewart Sr. Boyd Co.
2. McKenize SummersSr. Rowan Co.
3. Megan Hensley So. Ashland
4. Paige Hurst Sr. Fleming Co.
4. Leatha Reynolds Jr. West Carter
6. Becca Duff So. Rowan Co.
7. Breanna Grubb Sr. Raceland
8. McKenzie Vanover Jr. Ashland
9. Taylor Wheeler Jr. Boyd Co.
10. Kira Brown Jr. Fleming Co.