Boyle County softball rebounds after 0-3 start

Published 11:00 am Monday, April 9, 2018

It didn’t take long for Boyle County to get back into the win column.

The Rebels’ softball team started this year 0-3 against top-notch opponents. Since then, they’re 5-1, with three run-rule victories in that span.

“We’re making some improvements,” head coach Brian Deem said. “The hitting is coming around like I knew it would be, hitting is always something that lags behind early in the season. We’re starting to barrell the ball up a little bit right now. We’ve had some good showings, putting runs on the board. Then we’ve come around and struggled a little bit, didn’t put the bat on the ball … Overall, I’m pleased. They’ve responded after going 0-3 against some really good competition and the competition hasn’t dropped much. Allen-County Scottsville is really good, Trigg County has a nice pitcher down there. We’re able to see really good pitching so we’re forced to play at a high level. That’s what I want.”

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It has been a balanced surge at the plate for the team, but one bat stood out over spring break: Keely Bowling. The sophomore is up to five home runs and 15 RBIs this year with a .333 batting average.

“Keely Bowling had an outstanding weekend,” Deem said. “She hit three or four home runs. She was hitting the ball really hard and squaring it up well. That was a big plus for us.”

On the mound, Boyle’s been paced by two familiar faces: Katy-Grace Chadwell and Kelly Lay.

Chadwell has started six games, tossing 45.2 innings. She’s got four wins to her name and a 1.53 earned run average to go with 25 strikeouts.

Lay has 19 strikeouts and a 3.82 ERA through 18.1 innings pitched. Both received double duty in the Vernon Bibb Showcase at Harrison County over Spring Break.

“We threw Katy on Friday back-to-back and Kelly on Saturday back-to-back,” Deem said. “I did that on purpose because I wanted to see where they stood fatigue-wise, with their endurance. Both of them responded very well. Against Harrison County, I thought Kelly did an outstanding job keeping them off balance. They’re defending Region 10 champions. She was able to throw a lot of ground balls, had some strikeouts and let her defense do the work for her.”

Both pitchers have been doing their part at the plate as well: Lay is batting .321 with six runs batted in, while Chadwell is hitting .333 with a team-high .484 on-base percentage.

“I’m really pleased with our pitching right now,” Deem said. “Our pitching has been solid, our defense has been pretty good. We’ve had a few moments where we kick the ball around, but all around, our pitching is something I’m most proud of. Our pitching and walks, we’ve really started to limit the amount of walks we’re giving up, which is a big plus for us. Walks always score. I hate walks. We’re doing really well with that, we’re starting to get in a groove and I feel confident that with the competition we’re playing, we’re going to put ourselves in a position to be ready in May.”

Deem mentioned a pair of freshmen — Kyndall Honaker and Hailey Cannon — who stepped up at different times so far this year.

“The kids that really impressed me, I gave Kyndall Honaker the start Saturday and she came up with two really big hits,” Deem said. “Her and Hailey Cannon, those two freshmen came in and were able to get big hits in both games that they played in. They’re doing a really good job of hitting the ball.”

Honaker is 2-for-5 at the plate with four RBIs. The team-high average belongs to Channing Whitehouse, who has been on a tear: She’s averaging .444, has a team-high 12 hits and 10 runs to go with eight RBIs.

Mattie Robbins is next up with a .345 average and .424 on-base percentage. She’s got seven runs and a team-high eight stolen bases.

The Rebels will take a 6-4 record to Louisville Eastern today at 7:30 p.m. That trip is followed by a rivalry matchup at Danville.

This month, Boyle will play just two home games — Garrard County (17th) and Lincoln County (19th).

“We’ve been on the road a lot and we’re going to be on the road a lot in April,” Deem said. “I think only our two district games are when we’re at home. I just want to see how we handle the fatigue, handle it mentally. It’s going to be a grind, I knew that scheduling it. But I do think that being able to be on the road, get on the bus and come out and perform is crucial when it comes to winning in May. It’s going to be something that I think our kids should be mentally prepared for. We’re an upperclassmen team, they should be prepared for it.”