Lady Bears are Run-Ruled By Lady Cats, 12-0
Darren Doyle, story and photos:
The future of Lady Cat Softball is bright, based on the performances of the younger players on Edmonson County's roster this season.
The Lady Cats crushed district rival Butler County 12-0 last night at home, which was capped off by a grand slam from eighth grader Addie Childress. The blast put Edmonson ahead 12-0 in the bottom of the fifth, making it a run-ruled victory for the Lady Cats.
It's the second homer of the year for Childress, who has recently earned a starting spot in the outfield for Edmonson County. While her bat got the attention last night, her defense has also been solid throughout the season. She is one of five eighth graders on the varsity roster.
Brooklyn Wilson, a freshman outfielder for Edmonson County, has also gained attention this season. Last night she hit her first career home run, a three-run shot in the bottom of the second. The Lady Cats put two more on the board in the inning after Kaylee Ann Sanders ripped a triple to the gap, putting Edmonson County up 5-0.
Wilson is the fifth new member to what is known as the "Bomb Squad" for Edmonson County, which is the exclusive club reserved for those who have hit out-of-the park varsity home runs for the Lady Cats. This season alone, along with Childress and Wilson, senior catcher Annie Kiper, senior shortstop Callie Webb, and sophomore pitcher Julie Norris have all hit homers. Senior center fielder Alyssa Doyle hit her first career home run last season. Edmonson County hasn't seen six different long-ball hitters on the same roster in years.
Kylee Williams, an eighth grader, leads the Lady Cats in stolen bases (16), and has not yet been caught stealing this season. Used as a pinch runner, she's normally put in the game as a courtesy runner for pitcher Julie Norris, who has been a batting leader (.453) for the Lady Cats this season. Jolee Vincent, a freshman, is the starting second baseman and is currently hitting .346 on the season.
Six Lady Cats notched hits last night with three of them earning multi-base hits. Norris went 5 innings in the pitcher's circle, giving up only two hits, no runs, while striking out three. She walked only two batters.
It wasn't just hot bats and solid pitching from the Lady Cats last night. The girls made multiple impressive defensive plays, both infield and outfield. Kaylee Ann Sanders made a highlight throw from third after knocking down a hard hit ball to nail a runner at first, Callie Webb made two different rocket throws from short to get runners, and center fielder Alyssa Doyle made a diving catch to save a run. First baseman Makayla Hogg impressed at first base, stretching to make multiple plays all night. While all these plays turned heads, it's become more of the norm for Edmonson County this year. Every position player has made a "highlight reel" catch at some point this season, with several making more than one.
Butler County's Tinslea Belcher gave up 12 earned runs on 10 hits, striking out 6, walking 2, while hitting two batters.
Edmonson County improves to 12-7 on the season and moves to 4-1 in district play, tying Butler County for first place standings.
Edmonson Voice Sports:
The Edmonson County Parks and Rec youth baseball and softball youth leagues began this past Saturday at the HWY 70 ballparks for the 2023 season.
Program Director for Parks and Rec John Kiernan said it was great day with beautiful weather.
"Everything went great and we all had a great time," he said. "We have 267 kids enrolled in our youth baseball and softball teams and we're looking for another great season."
Longtime umpire Dez Simcoe was honored by throwing out the first ceremonial pitch this year. Dez, an Air Force veteran as well as a veteran of umpiring youth sports for 38 years, has been a local favorite in Edmonson County, umpiring for 10 years, as well as helping start Edmonson County's youth soccer program.
Dez followed in his father's footsteps, Dez Simcoe III, who umpired youth sports for 50 years. The two had the opportunity to umpire games together at HWY 70 before the senior's passing this past January.
Fourth grader London Simon sang the National Anthem before games began and teams played throughout the day and evening.
"We've seen some very impactful improvements to our fields and facilities at the ball park at Highway 70," Kiernan added. "We've installed rock around the creek, we've built three new bridges around the fields, and we've upgraded the score booths as well as the installment of two new batting nets. We're looking forward to another great year for our kids."
Johnson Steps Down After 31-Year Career
Darren Doyle, story: Madison Doyle, photos:
Edmonson County High School head coach of boys' basketball Brad Johnson has officially announced his retirement at the end of this school year.
The official announcement came to school administration yesterday with team meetings taking place both yesterday and this morning.
"It really was a hard decision, but it was my decision," he said. "I didn't talk to anyone else about it, really. It was just something that I prayed about and knew it was time."
Johnson led the Wildcats to another district championship this past season, only the school's third for boys basketball in 30 years.
Coach Johnson has seen a very involved and influential career in not only coaching, but also teaching and administration. Over the course of his 31-year career, he has served as:
Johnson said he knows that sometimes when you hear that a coach wants to retire and spend more time with family, it's also conveniently coupled with the fact that a particular team has lost a roster full of seniors or other valuable players.
"It's something that people joke about or whatever, but that's certainly not the case here," he said. "I've never been that guy. Instead, I've always tried to be a guy that can pull the boot straps up and take on whatever challenge is coming next year, but in this case, I really want to spend time with my family and do some other things. The future of Edmonson County basketball is bright. There are a lot of really good players here all the way down to the fifth grade. I look forward to being a little less stressed and sitting in the stands and watching because I think good things are ahead."
Coach Johnson's coaching career literally came full circle as his first-ever head coaching job was at Edmonson County as the boys' basketball coach in 1999 through 2002. There, one of his first players is now principal of ECHS Jonathan Williams, who rehired Johnson as head coach in 2021.
"It really is full circle," Johnson said. "You talk about Ohio, Grayson, and Barren, and they all circle Edmonson County. To be able to work under a guy that played for me, Mr. Williams, to be able to work with him, for him to come to practice, it's just really special. To be able to reconnect to a lot of people here after coming back--I see a lot of kids walking the halls that look just like their parents and I remember when their parents were here. The three years I've been back here have been extremely rewarding."
Johnson returned to Edmonson County as an assistant under Mike McClintic in 2020 after retiring as principal in Barren County.
Principal Williams described the departure of Johnson as a "great loss" but he still had an overwhelming feeling of gratitude.
"I’ve had the privilege to have the best mentor possible down the hall anytime I needed advice over the last three years and that’s been on a very regular basis," Williams said. "The goal is for each coach we hire to take our program wherever it is and continue building it, and coach Johnson has definitely done that. It has been so special to me to have him here; Coach Johnson’s first head coaching job was here when we were juniors and to have had the opportunity to hire him and watch him reestablish a culture of winning has been a very full-circle experience. I love him dearly and we will remain close friends forever. I have the utmost respect for him and his professional resume speaks for itself."
Williams also agreed that the future of Edmonson County athletics was bright.
"We have an excellent returning starter next year and we have a very athletic group. I'm excited to see what this group will be able to accomplish."
Williams said ECHS will start the search immediately for the next head coach and a search and interview committee will be formed to assist him in vetting candidates. He said he hopes to name a replacement by May 5th.
Johnson said he will technically remain as coach for the remainder of the school year and he will continue his athletic director duties during that same period.
He said he plans to spend more time at Shady Hollow Golf Course in Cub Run, where he helps manage.
"I made a commitment to J.C. (Ramsey) at Shady Hollow the first time I retired and I plan to spend some time there, kind of managing and working there, but hopefully not all work. I'd like to hope I can play a little more now."
He said he will also have more time to help his mother, who lives about an hour away, as well as visit a granddaughter who is in Louisville.
Some of Johnson's achievements in coaching include:
Coach Johnson had an open-door policy with the Edmonson Voice. He granted access by phone, text, email, and in-person whenever we needed it. We were always welcome in the gym, at practices, in the locker room, or his office. His intense and "all-business" personality was a reflection of the high expectations he had for not only players and students, but also for himself.
When asked about all the things he'd seen and done over the course of his career, he joked that he'd thought about writing a book.
"The most rewarding aspect of my career is the relationships," he said. "Seeing kids grow up, get married, and have kids...I just hope I pointed some of those people in a good direction. Every tough game situation or a hard spot on the court, I would tell kids, 'That's the way life is, man. You gotta pull up your boots and fight through it,' and so, it's a blessing to me when I've heard people say that they went through hardships but remembered what their old coach said. I've also had a lot of former players reach out to me and say some really nice things, so that makes you feel good."
Johnson will continue to live in Edmonson County with his wife and sons. He has three sons and two daughters.
"Even when I worked at three other places, I made Edmonson County my home and it's going to stay my home. It's where I go to church and it's a special place. I still can't get over how full our gym was during the district tournament and how happy everybody was. This is a special place and I have happiness all around. I'm just looking forward to being a husband, a dad, a granddad, and a son."
Edmonson Wins 15-6
Darren Doyle, story and photos:
The Lady Cats disposed of the Lady Cougars with little trouble tonight at Grayson County as home runs paced the offense for Edmonson County in a 15-6 win.
Addie Childress, an eighth grader, hit her first career varsity homer in the top of the sixth, which was a three-run shot over the wall in the right gap that gave the Lady Cats a 12-4 lead. The home run was part of six-run inning for Edmonson County.
Sophomore Julie Norris hit her second home run in as many games in the next inning; it was a two-run homer just left of center field. It increased the Lady Cat to 15-6, which would be the final score of the game. She also hit a home run in a loss to Larue County this past Saturday with a ball that hit the top of the fence and went over.
Norris also pitched the seven-inning complete game, giving up three earned runs on 10 hits. She struck out two and walked two.
Every Lady Cat in the game recorded at least one base hit tonight. Makayla Hogg went 3-5 with 1 RBI, Callie Webb was 2-3 with 2 RBIs, and and Jolee Vincent was 2-3 with 4 RBIs. Childress and Norris were both 2-4 and each had 3 RBIs.
Edmonson County notched 15 hits against two Grayson County pitchers and all 15 runs were earned against the Lady Cougars. Grayson pitching combined for 5 walks, 4 wild pitches, and 5 batters hit-by-pitch.
The Lady Cats are now 6-4 on the season and are scheduled to take on Butler County on Thursday.
Edmonson Voice Sports:
Two sophomore members of the Edmonson County High School Bass Fishing team continue to show results for the Wildcats as they placed again in a recent tournament.
Jake Coy and Cooper Richardson, both sophomores at ECHS, are among the most consistent when it comes to reeling them in.
While the bass fishing team was first organized for the 2019-20 school year, there were no tournaments as a result of the COVID pandemic. The team brought home their first trophies in 2021, which is displayed in the case at ECHS.
Head Bass Fishing Coach Jeremy Hodges said the team has finished 21 tournaments since 2021 and that Coy and Richardson have placed at least third in 9 of those.
They were chosen as Anglers of the year for 2021 and 2022. Richardson won "Big Fish of the Year" in 2021 and is on his way to win that for the team in 2023 with his recent catch of a 6.87lb large mouth.
"In most of the tournaments, we fish against 100 or more student angler competitors from other high schools throughout the state, and to place 3rd or higher in almost half of the tournaments we’ve fished is quite an accomplishment," said Coach Hodges.