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Prep Sports Notebook: Conner baseball team has a lot riding on first game in district tournament

By Terry Boehmker
NKyTribune sports reporter

There will be a lot on the line for the Conner baseball team when it plays Boone County in the opening game of the 33rd District tournament at 5 p.m. Wednesday at Conner.

If the Cougars win that game, they’ll earn a berth in the 9th Region tournament, set a team record for most wins in a season and give Brad Arlinghaus his 300th win as head coach of the program.

Conner senior Kaden Early watches the ball headed for the left field wall on his home run at Great American Ball Park. (Photo by Betsy Malone)

Arlinghaus has a 299-215 record in 15 seasons at Conner going into to the playoffs. His teams have posted a winning record 11 times and six of them have won 20 or more games. The current Cougars take a 27-6 record into the win-or-go-home match-up with Boone County.

Conner ended its regular season with a 7-3 win over Campbell County in a Saturday afternoon game played at Great American Ball Park.  In the third inning, Conner senior first baseman Kaden Early became the second high school player to hit a home run at GAPB when he drove the ball 340 feet over the left field fence.

Senior shortstop Gage Testerman also got a hit for the Cougars in that game and finished the regular season with a .569 batting average (53 of 93) that’s among the top 10 in the state. He now leads the state in doubles with 21 and has more than 30 stolen bases.

The post-season baseball playoffs actually began on Sunday when Holmes defeated Covington Latin, 12-0, in a 35th District game. Holmes (4-22) will play defending 9th Region champion Beechwood (24-5) in a semifinal game at 5 p.m. Wednesday at Covington Catholic.

Beechwood ended the regular season with back-to-back wins by scores of 16-0 and 15-0. In those two games, junior Cameron Boyd went 6-for-6 with eight RBI for the Tigers. He hit three home runs in a win over Holy Cross on Thursday to give him 14 on the year, which is tied for first in the state.

Other district tournaments for baseball and fast-pitch softball will be played at various times and places this week with the winner and runner-up teams in each one advancing to region tournament brackets.

Fookes, Mueller inducted into Dawahare’s/KHSAA Hall of Fame

Two of Northern Kentucky’s most successful high school coaches were among this year’s inductees into the Dawahare’s/KHSAA Hall of Fame during a ceremony on Sunday in Lexington.

Boone County girls basketball coach Nell Fookes and Highlands football coach Dale Mueller were among the 17 men and women added to the high school hall of fame. This year’s class combined two years of nominees because no inductions were made last year due to the pandemic.

Fookes spent 30 years as coach of the Boone County girls basketball team. Her teams compiled a 686-255 record and won nine 9th Region championships. She ranks third in career wins among Kentucky girls basketball coaches and retired with a 72.9 winning percentage.

Mueller led Highlands football teams to 11 state championships in his 20 seasons as head coach. Some of his teams were ranked nationally after going undefeated. He retired with a 250-36 record at Highlands and 309-67 record overall for an 82.2 winning percentage.

9th Region girls tennis tournament resumes at Boone Woods

The 9th Region girls tennis tournament is set to resume Monday at Boone Woods Park with four quarterfinal matches in singles and the completion of the round of 16 in doubles.

The top seed in singles is Covington Latin junior Sara Watanabe, who won her first region title last year and made it to the semifinals of the state tournament. Her region quarterfinal match at 5:15 on Monday will be against No. 6 seed Alana Tinnell of Boone County.

The other quarterfinal matches are No. 2 Martine Hue of Notre Dame vs. No. 5 Kayla Johnson of Cooper, No. 3 Paetyn Ashcraft of Villa Madonna vs. unseeded Cassidy Derry of Dixie Heights and No. 4 Honor Valentine of Highlands vs. No. 7 Kyan Andros of Ryle.

If the weather cooperates, the girls singles semifinals and doubles quarterfinals will be played on Tuesday. The doubles semifinals will be on Wednesday and the finals will be played on Thursday.

The 9th Region boys tennis tournament is being played at Covington Catholic High School, but no results could be tracked online.

Ryle grad joins University of Kentucky women’s basketball team

Ryle graduate Maddie Scherr will continue her college basketball career with the University of Kentucky team that earned a berth in the NCAA tournament last season as the Southeastern Conference tournament champion.

The 2020 Miss Kentucky Basketball winner played for the University of Oregon the last two seasons. As a starting sophomore guard for the Ducks, Scherr led the team in assists (102) and steals (46) while averaging 4.7 points and 3.7 rebounds per game.

Scherr was one of five Oregon players who entered the NCAA transfer portal after the 2021-22 season ended and they all joined other Division I teams.  She officially signed with Kentucky coach Kyra Elzy on Saturday.

“We are ecstatic to welcome Maddie Scherr back home to Kentucky,” Elzy said. “Maddie brings leadership, veteran experience and is one of the most versatile, two-way guards in the nation.”




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