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1016sports preseason baseball/softball rankings

March 31, 2014
By Brad Laux of 1016sports

Welcome to the inaugural 1016sports' Top-10 rankings for baseball and softball. As was the case in both the fall and winter, each program in the 10th and 16th Regions (regardless of whether or not it is competing in regional play), as well as Wolfe County, is included. Unlike last year, all 34 schools will field a baseball team, while everyone but Rose Hill will also play softball. Each squad is evaluated individually regardless of enrollment or affiliation.

The rankings reflect my opinion of the order of teams by overall talent. Individual records and post-season titles are a factor, but the primary criteria I have used is whether or not I think the No. 1 team would beat the No. 2 team (and on down the line) in head-to-head competition at a neutral site.

The rankings aren’t derived from anything scientific. They are simply based on preseason information I have collected from coaches, interviews I have done, current rosters, previews from other media outlets, as well as my own observations. At the time of this release, there are still multiple coaches with whom I have not spoken about this season, so the selections are merely educated guesses, and very possibly off base. But, as the season progresses and I see more teams compete, hopefully, the polls should balance out.

Please note, this is only done for fun and a conversation piece.

With that said, here are the 2014 preseason rankings, including honorable mention selections, with last season's record in parenthesis and a note about both No. 1 teams:

1.  Boyd County (19-17) – No team in the area brings back more post-season all-stars than do the Lions. Senior pitcher/third baseman Billy McCoy, and juniors catcher Jacob Barnwell and outfielder Dylan Grimm each participated in the state East-West all-star game for his class last spring. Barnwell headlines the group and has already committed to play for Ohio State. The Lions should excel at the plate and in the field, with pitching depth the team’s biggest question mark entering the season.
2.  Lewis County (27-11)
3.  Harrison County (25-8)
4.  Bourbon County (24-12)
5.  Rowan County (19-18)
6.  Campbell County (19-17)
7.  Montgomery County (20-9)
8.  Ashland Blazer (26-10)
9.  East Carter (18-17)
10. Morgan County (18-10)
George Rogers Clark (12-17), Mason County (15-15), Fleming County (11-21), Greenup County (24-13), Bracken County (16-15), Scott (19-19).

1.  Ashland Blazer (27-11) – The five-time reigning 16th Region champions are a prohibitive favorite to win another title. In coach Dave Miller’s final season before he leaves to take over the new Kentucky Christian University program, the Kittens are as talented as they’ve ever been. Junior pitcher Megan Hensley might be the best pitcher in the history of the region. A Max Preps All-American, she has already committed to play for Louisville. Yet, the Kittens are more than just Hensley. Only two players graduated off last year’s team and the squad returns offensive powers Sydney Whitt and McKenzie Vanover.
2.  East Carter (24-12)
3.  Montgomery County (23-14)
4.  Harrison County (24-11)
5.  Bourbon County (27-8)
6.  Rowan County (22-16)
7.  Bracken County (19-15)
8.  George Rogers Clark (17-17)
9.  Boyd County (25-12)
10. Russell (17-15)
Greenup County (19-18), Raceland (18-15), Bishop Brossart (13-16), Nicholas County (14-12), Fleming County (14-19), Campbell County (9-12).

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