Coming off a run to the regional championship game in 2019, 2020 was supposed to be the year that the Lyon County Lady Lyons had the potential to begin at least a two year run as the team to beat in the 2nd Region. However, the COVID-19 pandemic ended the 2020 seasons before it got underway, taking away the chance of getting that two year run underway, right before the softball season began.
The Lady Lyons finished the 2019 season with a record of 26-13, which was even more impressive when you realize their struggles at the beginning of the season, which saw them go 1-5. Lyon County went 9-1 against 5th District teams, and 16-4 against 2nd Region competition. Two of the losses were against Madisonville, one in the region championship game, while the other losses were to Trigg County and Caldwell County.
Lyon County would avenge those two losses, beating Trigg County in the 5th District title game, and then eliminating Caldwell County in the regional opener.
The Lady Lyons then sent a message about their future potential when they took town regional contender Webster County in the regional semifinals on the Lady Trojans home field.
With the graduation losses suffered by teams like Madisonville, Caldwell County, Webster County, and Christian County, the Lady Lyons appeared well in position to roar, and roar loudly in 2020.
The offense was set to be anchored around two of not only the best players in the western Kentucky, but two anywhere in the state, and they were only going to be juniors in 2020.
Calista Collins torched opposing pitching for a .566 batting average in 2019. Collins blasted 15 home runs and drove in 54 RBIs, placing her among the most dangerous hitters in Kentucky. Not far behind her was Sydney Melton, who hit .432, with 8 home runs, and 33 RBIs.
The Lady Lyons had two other players hit above .300 that were returning for 2020. Freshman Gracen Wynn hit .350, while junior Kaelyn Conger was not far behind her at .321. Conger was also second on the team in RBIs with 34.
The Lady Lyons were set to be a very, very dangerous team at the plate for 2020.
Defense was not expected to be a problem either. With Collins anchoring the infield at shortstop, Melton behind the plate, and then players like Hadlie Butler, Rachel Coursey, Tori Schenk, Nelli Walker, Gracen Wynn involved in the defensive lineup, the Lady Lyons appeared to potentially be as good as anyone around in the field.
While still being a fairly young team, the Lady Lyons would have returned nine players for the 2020 season that saw action in at least 30 games during the 2019 season.
In the circle, Lyon County was set to return experience in numbers. Senior Allye Culp, along with juniors Kaelyn Conger and Tori Schenk, all saw noteworthy time during the 2019 season. In fact, it was Schenk, who had seen limited time earlier in the season, that got big innings in the 2nd Region tournament to help the Lady Lyons reach the final game.
All three of the returning pitchers had ERAs under 4.00 during the 2019 season.
With this level of returning talent, you can see why many thought the Lady Lyons were about to have a couple of golden seasons lining up. And, the Lady Lyons were still going to be a fairly young team in 2020, with only two seniors on the roster.
The schedule was going to be a tough one, and it would have certainly had the Lady Lyons tourney tested for the post season. Lyon County was set to play in events at Meade County, Franklin-Simpson, Murray, and Georgetown. And, the Lady Lyons would have been the favorites to repeat as All A Regional champs, with a shot to make a deep run in the state tournament.
Sadly, these young ladies did not get that chance. While the good news is that almost all of the team should return for the 2021 season, there are still two seniors, who won’t have that final opportunity, of what could have been a really special season.
Saluting those two seniors:
#6 – Allye Culp
#17 Nelli Walker