By Chris Chaney
Clermont Northeastern senior pitcher Emily Anderson and Milford junior shortstop Kayla Gregory were both named by the Ohio High School Fastpitch Softball Coaches Association as All-Ohio selections, becoming two of just 196 individuals from around the state to be honored. Moreover, the pair were two of the 33 selected to represent the Southwest Ohio District.
CNE’s Anderson is no stranger to big-time awards and being named to the First Team All-State in Division III is no different. A Toledo Rocket to-be, Anderson has transformed from one of the best pitchers in the area to one of the best in the state to one of the best in the history of Ohio high school fastpitch softball.
“It was great to be around her,” CNE head coach Bill Goldfuss said. “She’s a better person than she is a player and she was focused everyday. She worked hard in the offseason. When you have players like her, you don’t have to do a whole lot because they’re pretty well motivated and have goals. It was a blast (to coach her).”
Anderson left her mark on her school as well as the Ohio record books. The hurler finished second in career strikeouts with 1,265 and most shutouts in a career, notching 66. Anderson threw 19 no-hitters over her four-year stint as a Lady Rocket, good enough for seventh in Ohio high school history as well as winning 90 games, which ties her for 10th all time.
“Having (Anderson), you knew every day you had an anchor when you went to a game,” Goldfuss said. “You knew you had an anchor on the mound that you could count on every day, whether we played three days in a row, four or five. You knew she was going to take the ball and give it everything she had. 99-percent of the time, everything she had was good enough. When I made the lineup card and handed it in, I knew that we had a chance to win. You may not win them all, but you knew you’d be in the game because (Anderson) was going to give you an opportunity, it was just a matter if we could score or not.”
While Anderson’s legacy has been cemented at CNE and across the state, Milford’s Kayla Gregory’s legacy is still in the making. The junior transfer from Glen Este picked up where she left off her sophomore year and provided a stellar junior campaign that not only caught the eyes of Bowling Green University, where she is being recruited to play second base, but also coaches around the state of Ohio who named her to the Second Team All-State in Division I for the second consecutive year.
“The key thing was seeing how (Gregory) would do coming from Glen Este to Milford,” Lady Eagles head coach Christy Gregory said. “The (transition) was amazing. She came in as an offensive leader and we put her at leadoff because we expected her average to be high. If she’s on (base), then we were successful and we won games. The team followed her because of her ability.”
Gregory led the Lady Eagles in batting among everyday players hitting .490, nearly doubling the second-most potent hitter with 48 hits on the year. She also led the team in runs batted in with 18 and stolen bases with 11.
Gregory also held her own on the defensive side of the ball, flashing some leather at shortstop despite being recruited to play second base for the Falcons.
“We explained to (Gregory) that there were only 12 players from our whole district in Division I (selected to the All-State team) and she knows what a terrific feat that is,” Coach Gregory said. “As a coach, I’m so proud. I’ve had one other All-State player ever and she was an honorable mention, so for (Kayla) to get Second Team All-State and be among the top six players in our area is amazing and she knows it.”
Gregory still has one year of eligibility left and her coach and teammates are expecting more of the same from her in her senior season.
“Next year, as far as what we expect from her, just consistency,” the coach said. “It’s kind of hard to challenge herself to match what she did this year, but that’s her goal. So, we’ll look to her for consistency and leadership.”