KHSAA softball state tournament 2024 schedule and ranking of field from No. 16 to No. 1 (2024)

With four straight state championships, Louisville teams have dominated the state softball tournament in recent years.

It started with Male in 2019 and — after a delay for the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020 — continued with Butler in 2021 and Ballard in 2022 and 2023.

That streak will be put to the test starting Thursday when the Clark’s Pump-N-Shop/KHSAA State Tournament gets going at the University of Kentucky’s John Cropp Stadium in Lexington.

The field includes eight teams ranked among the state’s top 25 by MaxPreps.com, with No. 1 South Warren, No. 2 Henderson County, No. 3 Lexington Catholic, No. 4 Daviess County and No. 6 McCracken County all hoping to end Louisville’s reign over the tournament.

No. 12 Assumption and No. 23 Mercy will represent Louisville in the event.

As we approach Thursday’s first round, here’s one writer’s ranking of the field:

16. Letcher County Central (27-9)

The Cougars will carry a 17-game winning streak into the state tournament after beating Estill County, 3-1, to capture their first 14th Region title since 2011. Sophom*ore Scarlett Stamper has a team-best .420 batting average with six home runs, 13 doubles and 37 RBIs. Freshman Kelsey Bentley (.414, six home runs, 41 RBIs) provides another strong bat. Johnson University commit Alyssa Nicely (11-3, 1.98 ERA, 150 strikeouts, 95 ⅔ innings) leads the pitching staff. The Cougars beat first-round opponent North Laurel, 7-2, on March 23.

15. Boyd County (22-17)

The Lions beat Ashland Blazer, 11-5, for the first 16th Region title in program history. Seventh grader Jadyn Goad has a team-best .505 batting average, and sophom*ore Jaycie Goad is batting .400 with nine home runs and 37 RBIs. Eighth grader Elyn Simpkins (10-10, 3.18 ERA, 106 strikeouts, 125 ⅔ innings) is the top pitcher. The 17-player roster includes three seniors, four freshmen and six middle schoolers.

14. North Laurel (27-9)

The 2001 state champions knocked off South Laurel, 6-3, in the 13th Region final. Junior Saige McClure is batting .427 with four home runs, 14 doubles and a team-high 53 RBIs. Eighth grader Emma Carl (.422, six home runs, 25 RBIs) and junior Ellie Adams (.444, five home runs, 44 RBIs) are other leaders at the plate. Carl (15-5, 2.78 ERA, 99 strikeouts, 123 ⅓ innings) is the top pitcher.

13. Highlands (27-12)

KHSAA softball state tournament 2024 schedule and ranking of field from No. 16 to No. 1 (1)

The Bluebirds beat Notre Dame, 6-2, to capture their third straight Ninth Region title. Senior Michelle Barth (Thomas More commit) is batting .578 with 10 home runs and ranks third in the state with 66 RBIs. Sophom*ore Payton Brown (.509, 12 home runs, 56 RBIs) provides another big bat. Sophom*ore Kaitlyn Dixon (21-5, 1.62 ERA, 284 strikeouts, 185 ⅓ innings) anchors the pitching staff.

12. Mercer County (18-9)

The Titans beat Pulaski County, 4-3, to capture the first 12th Region title in program history. Eighth grader Ava Musick has a team-best .421 batting average, and senior Peyton Boyd (Carson-Newman signee) is batting .309 while leading the team in RBIs (27) and doubles (12). Musick (6-7, 3.86 ERA) and senior Ashley Howard (Centre College commit, 9-0, 2.67 ERA) are the top pitchers.

11. Lawrence County (30-4)

The Bulldogs bounced Belfry, 13-10, to capture their first 15th Region title since 2010. Lawrence County ranks No. 1 in the state in team batting average (.450) and runs per game (11.6). Senior Dani Crum (Pikeville commit) leads the team in batting average (.565), runs (57), doubles (15), triples (seven) and RBIs (52). Sophom*ore Brooklyn Ellis (.424, 44 RBIs) is the top power threat with 10 home runs. Sophom*ore Taylor Blevins (15-2, 2.29 ERA, 116 strikeouts in 100 ⅔ innings) and Ellis (12-2, 2.51 ERA, 121 strikeouts, 75 ⅓ innings) lead the pitching staff.

10. Montgomery County (31-6)

The Indians defeated Harrison County, 13-5, for their first 10th Region title since 2015. Senior Reaghan Oney (Troy University commit) has been outstanding, ranking first in the state in home runs (24), RBIs (75) and runs scored (79), second in hits (78) and slugging percentage (1.336), fourth in doubles (21) and 10th in batting average (.595). Junior Sara Zink (.500, 11 home runs, 48 RBIs) adds another big bat for a team that ranks first in the state in home runs (60) and third in runs per game (10.8). Junior Ryleigh Martin (13-5, 3.91 ERA, 142 strikeouts in 114 ⅔ innings) leads the pitching staff.

9. Mercy (21-13)

KHSAA softball state tournament 2024 schedule and ranking of field from No. 16 to No. 1 (2)

The Jaguars repeated as Sixth Region champions after beating Butler, 6-1, in the final. Senior Peyton Arnold (Bellarmine commit) leads the team in batting average (.364) and home runs (nine). Freshman Allie Streble (.361, 13 doubles) and junior Ava Reinhart (.333, seven home runs, 12 doubles, 37 RBIs) are other leaders at the plate. Senior pitcher Maya Merrill (15-9, 1.97 ERA, 189 strikeouts, 156 innings) is headed to Cedarville University.

8. Assumption (28-11)

KHSAA softball state tournament 2024 schedule and ranking of field from No. 16 to No. 1 (3)

The Rockets are in the state tournament for the first time since 1998 after beating Male, 10-1, in the Seventh Region final. First-year coach Suzanne Cates (formerly Suzanne Witten) was Kentucky’s Miss Softball winner as a senior at Butler in 2000. The Rockets rank second in the state in doubles (108) and are led at the plate by juniors Lauren Satterly (Western Kentucky commit, .478, nine home runs, 36 RBIs) and Tia Ice (.439, eight home runs, 38 RBIs) and sophom*ore Maleya Giddens (.421, 51 runs, 29 stolen bases). Sophom*ore Ava Lou Mattingly (18-6, 4.74 ERA) and Satterly (9-4, 3.72 ERA) lead the pitching staff.

7. Anderson County (26-11)

The Bearcats toppled Woodford County, 9-5, to capture their first Eighth Region title since 2016. Junior Lacey Osborne leads the team in batting average (.500), home runs (14) and RBIs (48). Junior Aspen Mitchell (.476, 45 RBIs) has a team-high 14 doubles. The Bearcats rank fourth in the state with 41 home runs. Osborne (20-8, 3.91 ERA, 141 strikeouts in 175 ⅔ innings) also is the ace of the pitching staff.

6. Elizabethtown (28-7)

Sophom*ore right-hander Taytum Spiers threw a two-hitter as the Panthers beat Bethlehem, 1-0, in the Fifth Region final. Spiers is 23-3 and ranks No. 2 in the state with a 0.96 ERA and No. 5 in the state with 303 strikeouts in 174 ⅔ innings. She threw three shutouts in the regional tournament, allowing seven hits and striking out 30 in 21 innings. Junior Alyssa Philpot leads the offense with a .415 batting average, 10 doubles and 35 RBIs. Spiers is batting .354 with a team-high 11 home runs.

5. McCracken County (30-7)

The Mustangs routed Paducah Tilghman, 17-4, to capture their fourth straight First Region title. Senior Karleigh Grace Walker (Campbellsville commit) leads the team in batting average (.505), RBIs (51) and doubles (15). Junior Savannah McDowell has a team-high seven home runs and is batting .354 with 40 RBIs. Sophom*ore Addley Leidecker (18-2, 1.77 ERA, 91 strikeouts, 118 ⅓ innings) is the staff ace.

4. Daviess County (28-6)

The Panthers are in the state tournament for the fifth straight year and still searching for their first state title. Sophom*ore Annie Newman leads the team in batting average (.517) and home runs (11) and is tied for fourth in the state with 65 RBIs. Junior Sadie Morris (.349, eight home runs, 34 RBIs, 18 stolen bases) is another threat. Freshman Kamryn Timmons (13-5, 1.61 ERA, 214 strikeouts, 113 innings) and sophom*ore Sophia Cain (14-1, 2.39 ERA, 93 strikeouts, 90 ⅔ innings) lead the pitching staff. Makayla Rowan is the only senior on the roster.

3. Henderson County (32-5)

KHSAA softball state tournament 2024 schedule and ranking of field from No. 16 to No. 1 (4)

The Colonels were state runners-up last year and are in the state tournament for the fourth straight year. They rank third in the state with 57 home runs and sixth in the state with a .417 team batting average. Senior Taylor Troutman (Mississippi State commit) has a team-best .536 batting average with 11 home runs and 43 RBIs. Senior Hallie McCracken (Oakland City commit) is batting .504 and leads the team in home runs (15), doubles (17) and RBIs (57). Junior Anna Kemp (Missouri commit, 20-1, 1.47 ERA, 159 strikeouts, 128 ⅓ innings) is the pitching ace.

2. South Warren (37-3)

The Spartans have one of the state’s most explosive offenses, ranking second in home runs (58) and batting average (.438) and sixth in runs per game (9.9). Sophom*ore McLaine Hudson ranks first in the state in hits (89), second in home runs (21) and runs scored (78), third in batting average (.640) and fourth in slugging percentage (1.309) and RBIs (65). She’s been named to USA Softball’s U18 national team. Sophom*ore Layla Ogden (.425, 15 home runs, 63 RBIs) is another top threat at the plate and in the pitching circle (18-0, 1.00 ERA, 128 strikeouts in 91 ⅓ innings). Courtney Norwood (16-2, 1.43 ERA, 125 strikeouts, 88 innings) is the other top pitcher.

1. Lexington Catholic (26-2)

With a state-best 18-game winning streak and a 1-0 victory over South Warren on April 27, the Knights get the top spot. Lexington Catholic’s 0.50 team ERA ranks first in the state. Junior Abby Hammond (26-2, 0.50 ERA, 265 strikeouts, 166 ⅔ innings) has pitched every inning and ranks first in the state in ERA. The UK commit is also batting .597 with 13 home runs and 38 RBIs and ranks first in the state with a 1.375 slugging percentage. Fellow UK commit Ava Emmert (.319, four home runs, 35 RBIs) provides another big bat.

KHSAA state softball tournament schedule

All games at University of Kentucky’s John Cropp Stadium

Thursday

10 a.m. – Daviess County (28-6) vs. Mercer County (18-9)

1 p.m. – Highlands (27-12) vs. Assumption (28-11)

5:30 p.m. – Boyd County (22-17) vs. Mercy (21-13)

8:30 p.m. – Letcher County Central (27-9) vs. North Laurel (27-9)

Friday

10 a.m. – South Warren (37-3) vs. Elizabethtown (28-7)

1 p.m. – Anderson County (26-11) vs. Henderson County (32-5)

5:30 p.m. – Lexington Catholic (26-2) vs. Montgomery County (31-6)

8:30 p.m. – McCracken County (30-7) vs. Lawrence County (30-4)

Saturday

10 a.m. – Daviess County-Mercer County winner vs. Highlands-Assumption winner

1 p.m. – Boyd County-Mercy winner vs. Letcher County Central-North Laurel winner

5:30 p.m. – Lexington Catholic-Montgomery County winner vs. South Warren-Elizabethtown winner

8:30 p.m. – McCracken County-Lawrence County winner vs. Anderson County-Henderson County winner

Friday, June 14

3:30 and 6:30 p.m. – Semifinals

Saturday, June 15

7 p.m. - Championship

More high school sports: KHSAA baseball state tournament 2024 schedule and ranking of field from No. 16 to No. 1

Jason Frakes: 502-582-4046; jfrakes@courier-journal.com; Follow on X @kyhighs.

This article originally appeared on Louisville Courier Journal: KHSAA softball state tournament 2024 schedule: LexCath leads way

KHSAA softball state tournament 2024 schedule and ranking of field from No. 16 to No. 1 (2024)
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