2018 KENTUCKY STANDARD SOFTBALL PREVIEW: B’town still young, but looking to turn the corner

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By Peter W. Zubaty, Sports Editor

Bardstown’s long-struggling softball program started to turn the corner last year, scoring the most runs for the program in a season since 2002. And with most everyone back and another year in coach Amber Taylor’s system, there’s reason for excitement.


“Ultimately last year was a good learning experience” for the team, Taylor said. “It was their first year to have me as their head coach, and I think they got what I was putting down for them. This year they’re just going to build off of that.”

Taylor said the team’s numbers are up this year, which is encouraging to see that excitement about the program manifest itself in the form of more players. The entire team returns, plus there are several newcomers out for the sport, she said.

“Our team’s very young, so we have tons of time to grow and get better,” said freshman Rory Kiser, who will anchor the outfield in center.

Taylor said there are enough players out for the sport to where the Tigers can have a full JV roster and not have a lot of kids having to play doubleheaders every night.

Taylor said this year’s group of returnees comes in ahead of the curve as opposed to last season, when they were in their first year with her. In year two, the players know what’s expected of them and have a better feel for what they are capable of.

“We push each other harder and harder, and it makes it more exciting,” sophomore Elyssa Craig said. “We’re a hard-working team and we’re going to get better.”

Taylor said her team is a lot more mature than last year as well, and their growth bodes well for the future of the program.

“This year, I’ve seen them grow into young women, and I’m excited for that, too, just to see how far they can get mentally, spiritually, academically,” she said. “I’m proud of them. They are maturing, not just within softball, but in everything. I can see it, and I’m ready to build on that too.”

They’re motivated, as well, she said, as the Tigers have had last year’s heartbreaking 10-8 district loss to Nelson County has simmered in the backs of their heads. Bardstown carried an 8-2 lead into the seventh but couldn’t hang on as the Cardinals avenged two previous regular-season losses.

“They remember that,” Taylor said. “They’re ready to come out and not let this season end the way that one did. … I don’t need to remind them.”

Taylor said more numbers also gives her more versatility with how she deploys her players. Kids will move around the diamond based on the matchups of the day.

Craig will be joined by freshman Maria Young in the circle to eat up innings. Young will also play first base.

Kyndal Ganoe got most of the action at catcher as a seventh-grader, and will be defending her starting spot against freshman Isabelle Simpson.

Taylor hasn’t settled on who will man third base and shortstop, but the versatility on the roster means she has options. Eighth-graders Hannah Riley and Sophia Sharp got starting time last year and will be in that mix, and Ganoe might see some time on the left side of the infield. Eighth-grader Kameron Ferriel figures to be at second and she’ll also play some at first. Another eighth-grader, Maya McClendon, will be in that mix as well and can also play the outfield. Junior Leanne Sunderland will also be a contributor in the infield.

In the outfield along with Kiser, junior Lauren Miles and eighth-grader Janae Crowe figure to contribute, as well as freshman Rozlyn Young

Kiser said the team needs to work more on its cohesiveness, and the fact they’re a tight-knit group should help that.

“We’re all really good friends, so I think that’s going to really help a lot,” she said. “We all trust each other on the field. From last year, we got that trust, so this year I feel this is the time we’re going to bring it to everybody.”

Bardstown is scheduled to visit Campbellsville on Thursday for the opening round in the 5th Region All A Classic.