Louisville-area high school softball coaches expect one thing this year: for the local regions to be wide open.
The area is well represented in the Kentucky Softball Coaches Association poll, with eight schools currently in the top 25 and Male, Ballard and Mercy all in the top six. And that, coaches say, should only help the local schools who advance to Owensboro for the state tournament. Male, the Seventh Region champion, finished third last year, while Sixth Region winners Mercy finished fourth.
“You don’t have to go really far to run into really good softball teams,” Mercy coach Jon Pont said.
Complicating matters for many teams has been the winter storms that kept teams from some of their preseason activities. Even though many teams have indoor facilities to use even in bad weather, Pont said the inability to get outdoors has affected fielders.
Other coaches agree.
“With the preseason weather being what it was, it’s really going to take a little time to see how everything shakes out,” Male coach Josh Bloomer said. “Everybody’s losing some practice time. We lost eight total days of practice. Our first day actually on the dirt was in our first game.”
In addition to fielding top teams, the Louisville area features several players who will play college ball next season. Those include Ballard catcher Lex Hull, a South Carolina signee; Mercy outfielder Jordan Vorbrink, a former state tournament MVP who signed with the University of Louisville; and Vorbrink’s teammate, pitcher Leigh Ellen Thomas, who signed with Tennessee Tech.
Here’s a brief look at several Louisville-area teams (several teams did not return requests for information):
STATE AT A GLANCE
Defending state champion: Scott County
District tournaments: Start May 18
Regional tournaments: Start May 25
State tournament: June 4-6, Fisher Park, Owensboro
Top 25 (from Kentucky Softball Coaches Association): 1. McCracken County 2. Madisonville 3. Male 4. Ballard 5. Scott County 6. Mercy 7. Woodford County 8. Owensboro Catholic 9. Union County 10. Anderson County 11. Meade County 12. Assumption 13. Greenwood 14. Bullitt East 15. Central Hardin 16. Holy Cross 17. Daviess County 18. Christian County 19. Butler 20. Ashland 21. North Laurel 22. Oldham County 23. East Jessamine 24. Apollo 25. Allen County