Tough tandem

Sam Sims throws from second base to record an out for Scott County while shortstop Carly Oliver keeps an eye on the play. Both athletes were named to the all-state team.

To win in Kentucky high school softball, in addition to having a strong-armed, crafty pitcher or two, you’d better be strong up the middle. That means having a hard-nosed, slick-gloved leader at all the key defensive positions on a straight line from home plate: catcher,  shortstop, second base and center field.

Scott County had the infield locked down in that regard this season thanks to Sam Sims and Carly Oliver. Two of the Lady Cards’ three seniors, their efforts at second and short, respectively, as well as sensational seasons at the plate, were rewarded with places on the Kentucky Softball Coaches’ Association all-state team.

Oliver was one of 11 players picked for the first team in mythical Class 3A, reserved for schools among the upper third in enrollment. Sims was an honorable mention choice.

Coach Jeff Portwood wisely placed the all-state tandem first (Sims) and second (Oliver) in the Lady Cards’ lineup. Both rewarded him with a batting average above .500.

Nine home runs highlighted Oliver’s 48 hits. She also fielded shortstop at a .972 percentage after moving from second base to fill the void left by Hannah Davis’ graduation.

It was a comeback season, of sorts, for Oliver. She missed the first half of SC’s 2018 state championship season due to a broken leg.

Sims served mostly pinch running duty during the Lady Cards’ third KHSAA championship drive, but she took full advantage of her one full season in the lineup. She led Scott County’s 2019 edition in batting average, runs, hits and stolen bases.

Oliver and Sims will be opponents next year in the Mid-South Conference, with Oliver attending Georgetown College and Sims enrolled at Lindsey Wilson College.

Joining Oliver on the KSCA first team: Jasmine Miller and Kelsie Houchens from undefeated state champion Male, Allie Skaggs (Ballard), Peyton Beger (Central Hardin), Emmy Blane (Christian County), Elena Ornelas (Oldham County), Tyler Shemwell (Christian County), Millie Roberts (Daviess County), Delaney Enlow (Woodford County) and Jeanay Riley (Manual).

Kal Oakes can be reached via email at sports@news-graphic.com.

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