By Chris Chaney
An outstanding year on the diamond for the Milford Lady Eagles concluded with seven team members being honored by the Eastern Cincinnati Conference as All-Star selections.
The team, which finished the regular season as runners up, a game behind eventual league champions Loveland, notched a 16-13 record and reached the sectional semifinal before losing to Mason, an eventual state final four participant.
The Lady Eagles were led by a fresh face in 2013 as junior Kayla Gregory transferred into red and white from the purple and black of ECC foe Glen Este. The transition was seamless as Gregory led the Lady Eagles from the plate, hitting .490 and recording 48 hits, 19 more than the next best on the team.
For that, Gregory was named the Player of the Year in the league.
“The rollover was amazing,” Milford head coach Christy Gregory said of Kayla’s play from GE to Milford. “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.”
A trio of other Lady Eagles, all of which have played their last game in Milford uniforms, accompanied Gregory on the First Team All-Star squad.
Katie Ackerman, Katie Noll and Carly Ventus, seniors all, were Milford’s other three First Team selections. The heart and soul of the Lady Eagles’ defense, Ackerman, Noll and Ventus were the backbone, quite literally, playing catcher, pitcher and center field, respectively.
“(Ackerman) is a great defensive leader,” Coach Gregory said. “She put the ball in play a lot for us and hit some game-winning RBI.
“Carly Ventus was an awesome surprise. She came out with power this year and led the team in home runs. Wherever we put her in the lineup, she was successful and played a great center field for us.
“Katie Noll was great, too. She pitched for us and put in a lot of time in the offseason and you could tell. She was determined to be our starter. She moved the ball around a lot and was a huge offensive threat for us as well.”
The next vanguard of Milford softball players were represented further down the All-Star team lists as freshman Hannah Huffer and Kelly Noll were placed on the Second Team and sophomore Shelby Kirk was named an Honorable Mention.
Milford’s fellow Clermont County residents and Gregory’s old home, Glen Este also had a handful of players named to the inaugural ECC All-Star teams.
Leading the way for the Lady Trojans were a pair of juniors, Katelyn Maynard and Bailey Miller. Sophomore pitcher Brooke Parker was also got the First Team nod.
Miller led the offensive charge, hitting a team-best .378 and knocked in 19 RBI. Maynard hit .227 and scored 10 runs. In the circle, Parker went 7-4, striking out 94 batters and boasting a 1.56 earned run average.
On the Second Team for the young Lady Trojans were sophomores Jessica Dmochowski and Megan Downey and Lindsey Sweatland, another sophomore, was placed on the Honorable Mentions list.