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Boyle, Danville have three players on All-Area Softball Team

June 01, 2004|JILL ERWIN

Almost every area softball team boasted a young roster this season, but the older players still showed that experience counts.

Six of the 12 spots on the 2004 The Advocate-Messenger All-Area Softball Team were taken by seniors, while juniors grabbed an additional three spots.

Boyle County and Danville led the way with three honorees each, while Casey County and Garrard County had two apiece. Burgin and Mercer County each had one player named.

Boyle first baseman Tiffany Webb is on the team for the third time, while Danville's Amber Wood and Monica Vonderbrink, Garrard's Tiffany Meadors and Casey's Tori Clements made the team for the second time.

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Burgin coach Matt Grimes was named The Advocate-Messenger Coach of the Year after leading Burgin to an 8-15 record despite having only one senior on the team.

Following is a closer look at each All-Area player:

Erin Ashford

The Mercer County catcher has been the on-field coach for the Scotties, using her knowledge of the game and her natural leadership ability to help Mercer's defense.

"She makes my job so much easier because there's nothing about this game that she doesn't know," Mercer coach Kristal McGinnis said. "She knows before I ever tell her, and she's telling all the other girls on the field."

Ashford is batting .457 for the Scotties.

"She's coachable, she gets good grades, and she's a leader on this team. She spends a lot of time outside of practice working on her game, and the other girls look up to her," McGinnis said.

Tori Clements

Clements made the team last year as a utility player, but the sophomore has found a home at second base for Casey.

"She's always solid with the glove," Casey coach Andy Stephens said. "She's played short and second this year instead of so many different positions and that really helped her. I think second base is her strongest point."

Clements batted .356 for Casey this year with a .521 slugging percentage. She scored 24 runs and knocked in 12 runs.

"She's a hard out," Stephens said. "She can bunt well, she hits the ball hard and she makes contact. She keeps getting better."

Amanda Cocanougher

The lone senior on Burgin's team, Cocanougher was a leader from third base.

"When I came to Burgin three years ago, she was the first girl I met," Grimes said. "She was talking to me about softball and how much fun it was. She's not only a cheerleader for the school, but she's a cheerleader on the field as well."

Cocanougher batted .341 for the Bulldogs.

"I think the world of her," Grimes said. "She's a real leader for us. Each of the past three seasons, she's improved as the season has progressed."

Tiffany Meadors

Meadors made the team for the second consecutive year as a pitcher. She is 16-10 for the Golden Lions, but her earned run average has dropped from 3.44 last year to a sparkling 1.87 this year.

"In her eyes, I think she'd say she's down a little bit this year," said Garrard coach Jeff Meadors, who is also Tiffany's father. "She's been struggling with injuries, and she puts too much pressure on herself sometimes."

The senior has 163 strikeouts, but doesn't say much when she's on the field.

"She's a silent leader, but as she goes, our team goes," Jeff Meadors said.

Amber Mills

Mills took on a new position for Boyle this year, moving to third base after playing second or designated hitter last year.

"Defensively, we've put her in a different spot this year and she has really risen to the challenge," Boyle coach Heather Oates said. "She's worked hard to be able to do everything a third baseman has to do and she's constantly trying to improve her fielding skills."

Mills' hitting skills aren't bad, either, as she's hitting .310 with four triples and a .558 on-base percentage.

"I do believe if she is not the best hitter in the district, she is one of the top three," Oates said. "What also makes Amber a good hitter is that she's a smart batter. She knows her role is to get on base, and she's a threat when she gets on because she's a smart baserunner."

Abby Parsons

Parsons settled in at shortstop for Garrard this year, but her versatility at all infield positions and on the pitching mound earned her the team's utility spot.

Coach Jeff Meadors switched Brittany Lane and Parsons, installing Parsons at short and Lane at third, midway through the season. He said that move has made the difference for the Lions, who won the 44th District title .

"That was the best move I ever made," Meadors said. "We had a whole bunch of spots to fill. Moving Abby to short and Brittany to third turned out to be the best thing, because it upped our level of play at both positions."

Parsons is batting .230 for the Lions, but she has 19 RBIs and is a steadying force on defense.

"She's just a naturally gifted athlete," Meadors said. "The things she has, you don't teach."

Mary Beth Pennington

Pennington, a sophomore, is 10-14 this year, but has 169 strikeouts.

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