Marshall County High School has experienced yet another school year to which no one in their area can relate. However, over 100 years ago, long before the thought of the Marshall County Marshals and Lady Marshals, the world experienced a similar crisis. That fails to bring comfort to the young athletes today, more specifically, the seniors.
Even before the schools were closed, KHSAA (Kentucky High School Athletic Association) halted Kentucky high school sports only moments before the Lady Marshals took the court at the Sweet Sixteen held at Rupp Arena. That halt in play led to a temporary suspension of high school sports until such a time as could be determined how Kentucky would address the potential spread of COVID19.
March 31, 2020, the KHSAA website was updated to reflect that not only where the Girls’ and Boys’ Sweet Sixteen tournaments to remain currently suspended, but the archery region and state championship, the bass fishing region and state championship, the e-sports season championship were currently suspended.
Along with those sports already currently suspended, the tennis, track and field, baseball, and softball regular season, district, region, and state championships joined the list of suspended sports that “will be continually reviewed as more data is available regarding school resumption or cessation, and activities being conducted in alignment with CDC and state and local directives.”
The entire softball team of Lady Marshals should return to take the field next season boasting no seniors on the 2020 roster. Juniors Cayson Conner, Kinley Edwards, McKenzie Elkins, Philicity Garland, Savannah Hairgrove, Presley Jezik, Gabbi Lovett, Layne Pea, Riley Piercefield, Sarah Stokes, and Sarenna Tomassi all have one more year to return to play.
The Lady Marshals were set to face off against Calloway County for their season opener followed by Graves County. They were scheduled for their home opener April 16, hosting Union County.
Lovett shared the mound with Gracey Murt who graduated last year. Lovett finished the season with 48 strikeouts and 17 wins. Senior Addie Young, freshman Tia Thorpe, and eighth-grader Elizabeth Staples all took turns at the mound for relief.
Jezik led the Lady Marshals with .429 batting average, followed by Cayson Conner at .388 and Pea hitting .361. Jezik ended with 30 RBI’s, 12 doubles, and two triples. Conner hit 22 RBI’s, four doubles, and three triples. Pea finished the season with 20 RBI’s, three doubles, and three triples.
The Lady Marshals took their third district four championship in a row and back to back region championships last season. Marshall County won 4-1 over Calloway County for the district four championship and 7-5 over Graves County for the region one championship title. They fell to Madisonville-North Hopkins in the first round of the KHSAA state tournament.
The Marshals were scheduled to open their season against the Lions in Lyon County. Marshall County second game was their home opener with a district matchup. Marshall County was set to host Christian Fellowship for the Eagles’ first round at district play.
The Marshals’ roster listed eight seniors for this 2020 season. Ty Buchmeier finished last season with 17 RBI’s, three doubles, two triples, and .315. Conner Johnson ended with 20 RBI’s, two doubles, and .302 batting average. Isiah Neeble hit 15 RBI’s, eight doubles, one home run, and hit .349, and Dawson Smothers finished with four RBI’s, one double, and .308 batting average.
Riley Harris took the mound last season for 62 strikeouts and nine wins.
Seniors Nate Garland, Tanner Renfrow, and Clay Sutton were also listed on the roster.
The Marshals took the 5-2 win over Calloway County last season in the district four championship and advanced through the first round of region one tournament action in an 11-1 win over Carlisle County. The Marshals fell in the next round to Paducah Tilghman in a 1-11 loss.
Track and Field has been fortunate to send several athletes to the state competition each year. This season, however, 25 seniors will be unable to compete for that opportunity.
At this time, the suspension time is through at least May 1, 2020. In a news release by KHSAA, it stated “In the interim, an evaluation will be made for the period going forward.”