Eminence hosts annual Spring Sports Banquet

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By Tommie Kendall

Sports editor

After a season full of ups and downs, Eminence High School hosted its annual Spring Sports Banquet at the Eminence Community Life Center last Monday night. Among those honored were the baseball, softball and track teams.

The head coaches gave out seven awards each — academic, leadership and community, along with four coach-chosen awards — and also announced lettermen winners, recognized each player and gave their appreciation to the seniors who recently ended their high school athletic careers.

The first person to take the platform was baseball coach Mark Payton. The first-year head coach, who took over the program from Donny Young this spring, led the Warriors to a 1-17 record. Their lone win came against Evangel Christian (7-4) April 23.

Eminence also had two forfeit wins during the regular season, but they had not been reported to www.KHSAA.com — the official Kentucky High School Athletic Association website.

“To sum up this season, it was a learning experience,” Payton said. “We had a very young team, and the first time we stepped on the field for a game, against Shelby County, we had just two practices.”

Shelby won that season-opener, 20-0, and also ended the Warriors’ season in the first round of the 30th District tournament two weeks ago with a 31-0 outing.

During the banquet, Payton gave awards to Ed Berry (Academic Award and Batting Average Award), Coletin Raper (Leadership Award), Ryan Paris (Best Glove Award), Nelson Hedges (On-Base Percentage Award), Michael Snell (Long-Ball Award) and Samuel Brewer (Community Award). Batting average wise, Berry finished at .421, while Snell finished at .387 and Paris finished at .310.

Eminence said goodbye to three seniors — Brewer, Paris and Raper — and will return a core group of players that includes six regular starters.

When the Warriors first began practice, they had just 10 players show up. By the time they finished though, they were up to 30.

“We’re a growing team,” Payton said. “Our players gave a tremendous effort on the baseball field all season. With our young team, we still have a long way to go, but look out for these baseball players in the future.”

After Payton, Eminence’s softball coach Dewayne Douglas took the platform to talk about his seniors, young players and future seasons with a talented core.

“We were very young this year,” Douglas said. “Our JV team had a lot of players that had never even played softball before. By the end of the year though, you would’ve been amazed by how far they came. It was a fun year watching them grow and get better.”

The Lady Warriors finished the season at 1-14, with their lone win coming against Caverna (19-0) April 12. They lost to Shelby County (19-0) in the first round of the 30th District tournament two weeks ago.

At the banquet, Douglas handed out awards to Kassidy Dees (Academic Award), Ashley Wilson (Leadership Award), Jessica Adams (Leadership Award and MVP Award), Kelli Hawkins (Community Award), Rachel Raisor (Most Improved Award) Chelsea Mathis (Best Fielder Award) and Candace Wells (Best Hitting Award). Dees and Wilson were also recognized for making the 8th Region All “A” Classic All-Tournament Team, and Dees and Adams were recognized for making the 30th District All-Tournament Team.

Seniors on this year’s team were Adams, Dees, Hawkins and Wilson.

The last coach to take the platform was track coach Steve Frommeyer. With just seven athletes on the team and no track to train on, the Warriors had a successful season that accumulated with two athletes qualifying for the Class A Kentucky State Track and Field Championships at the University of Louisville’s Cardinal Park May 30-31.

Berry made his third consecutive trip to state, finishing second-place in the high jump with a clearance of 6-feet even — the highest finish from an EHS athlete since Eric Bachelor took second in the same event in 1970. Berry also finished ninth in the long jump with a leap of 19 feet, 5 inches. He scored enough points to earn Eminence a 22nd-place finish in the team standings.

TJ Cooper also made the trip to state in the high jump, which was his first state-meet appearance. The sophomore cleared 5-4, which placed him 15th and gained him valuable experience for future seasons.

The award winners Frommeyer honored were Berry (Academic Award and Field Events MVP Award), Trey Lindsey (Community Award), Sydney Armstrong (Leadership Award), Jonathan Reed (Most Improved Award), Tihon Durrett (Coaches Award), Brock Roberts (Coaches Award) and Cooper (Runner MVP Award). Armstrong was the only senior on the squad.

“For these kids to achieve what they did was pretty remarkable,” Frommeyer said, considering the team didn’t have a track to train on and was outnumbered 50-7 by most teams. “It was a great season for us.”

Eminence hosts a Fall Sports Banquet, Winter Sports Banquet and Spring Sports Banquet each school year to honor its coaches, athletes, volunteers and fans.

The next banquet will be held after the football, volleyball and cross country seasons conclude in November.

E-mail us about this story at sports@hclocal.com.