She's the Tops

Leilani “Nani” Valencia, a rising senior at Great Crossing High School, announced this week that she is committing to the Western Kentucky University softball program. Valencia’s older sister, Princess, and Kennedy Sullivan, both stars of three state championship teams at Scott County High School, also play for the Hilltoppers.

Both family and community traditions continued this week when Leilani “Nani” Valencia, a rising senior at Great Crossing High School, announced her commitment to the NCAA Division I softball program at Western Kentucky University.

Valencia would become the third prominent player from the county on the Hilltoppers’ roster. Her older sister, Princess, and star pitcher Kennedy Sullivan were three-time KHSAA champions at Scott County.

A pitcher and corner infielder, Valencia made the move along with former SCHS coach Jeff Portwood and several teammates to Great Crossing prior to this season, which was erased due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“I thank God every day and the people who have helped me get where I am, especially my parents (Ruben and Melissa),” Valencia wrote in her announcement on Twitter.  Valencia added that she “cannot wait” to be teammates with ner sister once again.

As a freshman, Valencia started at first and third base for the 2018 state championship team at Scott County.

She moved to the heart of the  lineup as a sophomore and filled a pressing need on the pitching staff, as well.

Valencia also plays summer softball for the Louisville Lady Sluggers.

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

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