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Lady Titans softball plans to improve in 2024


Senior Ashley Howard threw one of her 1740 pitches over 101 innings during her junior season. Howard will lead the Lady Titans on the mound this spring along with sophomore Ella Davis.



















Samuel Warren

Herald Staff

In the three previous seasons, Mercer County Lady Titans softball has struggled to compete in the 12th Region. Throughout the springs of 2022 and 2023 the Lady Titans combined for a record of 15-47, but the 2024 Lady Titans do have one significant potential advantage that last year’s team did not, Darren Ransdell. Ransdell has always enjoyed coaching and believes every player can improve every day with the right mindset.

“It is fun to build a culture where players thrive because of confidence,” said Ransdell. “I believe this season will be much improved and for many years to come, this group has the opportunity to do something special!”

Lady Titan teams of the past were typically filled with upperclassmen, who had earned an opportunity to represent their team, but maybe weren’t the most deserving player in their position according to Ransdell.

“Unfortunately, that is not always the most strategic method. I do not want to say it was bad or wrong, but rather maybe a reason they struggled in the past,” said Ransdell.

Ransdell hit the ground running this season working on fundamentals of each individual player’s swing.

“We have developed them to be able to recognize pitches and hit all fields. We feel this will prove to be imperative as we face various levels of pitching this year,” said Ransdell.

The Lady Titans averaged batting .279 last season, and were undoubtedly led at the plate by the class of 2024. Hanna Beasley led the team in hits (35) in 2023 despite playing only 29 of the 34 games. Her .340 batting average led the team. Recent Centre College commit Ashley Howard finished the season with a .306 while leading the Lady Titans in RBI (25) and home runs (8). Peyton Boyd followed with a .298 and an impressive six steals on seven attempts, and recent Asbury College commit Haylee Ransdell averaged .284 and scored 15 runners.

“We expect our lineup to pack a significantly more potent punch. As for development, the whole team has grown but we expect a lot from our senior class,” said Ransdell. “The seniors have stated they wanted to be the class that helped change the team culture. We see that drive every day both on and off the field.”

Sophomore Ella Davis will return to the mound after throwing a team high 1768 pitches throughout last season. Davis finished with a team low 5.05 ERA while striking out 56 batters and earning a 6-11 record. Howard managed a 4-13 record while striking out 80 batters, and Ransdell has added a new name to the rotation as well.

“The focus has been on location and spin for both of them. There will be a newcomer in the circle for us this year and she brings a really strong arm to our rotation,” said Ransdell.

Davis will have a larger role in the team outside of pitching and sophomore Jayla Sanders and freshman Lily Hart will also fill key gaps in the lineup. Lady Titans softball is deep and full of potential, and the players are working hard to ensure they improve upon last season.

“In short, we will play our hardest workers who have earned their spots regardless of the grade they are in. I know one thing, this is a team that the families, fans, school and community will be proud of by the end of the season,” said Ransdell.

The Lady Titans will begin their season on Tuesday, Mar. 12 when they face Somerset in Harrodsburg at 6:30 p.m. Other notable games include a home game against Pulaski Co. on opening weekend, Saturday, Mar. 16 at 2 p.m., a matchup against Lexington Christian in Harrodsburg on Monday, Mar. 25 and a game against last year’s Region 13 champions South Laurel on Apr. 12.

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