Warren East’s Katie Gardner added another honor to her storied prep career Sunday – being named Miss Softball by the Kentucky Softball Coaches Association.

Gardner is the first Lady Raider in program history to win the award. She is the first player from Region 4 to win the award since Allen County-Scottsville’s Kelsi Pardue was named Miss Softball in 2012. The only other Region 4 players to receive the honor were Greenwood’s Brittany York in 2006 and current South Warren coach Kelly Reynolds – who won it with Warren Central in the award’s first season in 1995.

“Obviously I can’t do it without my teammates,” Gardner said. “It’s something I have been working for and I am very excited and honored.”

Gardner has enjoyed a stellar senior season. The Tennessee-Martin signee is 30-1 with 321 strikeouts in 171 2/3 and is hitting .383 with nine homers. She has numerous school career records in her time at Warren East including wins (108), strikeouts (1,211), shutouts (47), no-hitters (nine) and perfect games (four).

“What a great award this is, not only for Katie but for the whole program,” Warren East coach Philip McKinney said. “I’m so happy for Katie and it’s been awesome to call pitches for her.

“ ... She most definitely deserves to be called Miss Softball.”

Although the award is normally announced after the season, this weekend’s cancellation of the state tournament puts Gardner in the unique position to play in at least one game as Miss Softball. Gardner and the Lady Raiders face Ashland Blazer in the quarterfinals of the KHSAA State Fast Pitch Softball Tournament at John Cropp Stadium at the University of Kentucky in Lexington at noon CDT Friday, two wins from returning to the state title game for a second straight season and one win away from the program’s first state title.

Gardner said she hasn’t thought about the fact that she will now compete in the state tournament as Miss Softball.

“I’ll have to figure that out when I get up there,” Gardner said. “Hopefully it will help my team out and motivate them a little bit.

“This was one of my goals and now that I have this my next goal is the state title.”

All-state teams announced

Four Lady Raiders were named to the Class 2A First Team All-State team on Sunday – Gardner, Jeyda Bays, Hailey Hymer and Olivia Price – with McKinney and his coaching staff named the 2A coaching staff of the year.

Several other local players received all-state honors.

In Class A, Russellville’s A’Miyah Collier was named second team all-state. Franklin-Simpson’s Madison Davis was named second team all-state in Class 2A, with Butler County’s Hannah Chaney earning honorable mention accolades in 2A.

In Class 3A, South Warren’s Madison Stumbo was named second team all-state with South Warren’s Alexis Isable earning honorable mention.{&end}

– Follow prep sports reporter Micheal Compton on Twitter @mcompton428 or visit bgdailynews.com.


Sports Writer. Cover prep sports, Hot Rods baseball, Titans football, and is the Daily News staff film critic.

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