Connection: Looking Back at 2020 Softball Seniors

By Russell Vannozzi for The Robertson County Connection

High school sports were one of many activities interrupted by the coronavirus pandemic.

Kennedy Butterworth and Kyra McCall – Photo by Kris Freeman for White House BDP

Spring sports seniors had their careers end abruptly, without an opportunity to enjoy typical end-of-year tournaments and banquets that bring closure to the high school athletic experience.

The Connection will recognize these seniors from six schools – East Robertson, Greenbrier, Jo Byrns, Springfield, White House and White House Heritage – throughout the month of May.

This week, the names of each area softball senior, along with their position, post-HS plans and thoughts from their respective head coaches are listed below:

East Robertson (3):

Maleah Anderson, RF/DH: Attend Vol State to pursue her dream of becoming an EMT.

Coach’s quote: “Maleah loves the game of softball as much as anyone I’ve ever been around. Last year, she came through with a few clutch hits in the DH spot and was looking to fill that spot again. I am proud of her determination to handle adversity and challenges that come her way.” – Kevin Evans

Mattie Aulds, LF/P: Attend Austin Peay State University to major in radiology.

Coach’s quote: “Mattie started her high school career with a few injuries that kept her from playing at all. The last 2 years, she has stayed healthy and was beginning to become the player I knew she could be. She was becoming consistent and played a major role on our team as a leader this season.” – Kevin Evans

Malone Thrift, SS: Play softball at Trevecca and major in computer science.

Coach quote: “Malone is a coach’s dream. Not only did she lead us in about all of our statistical categories, she was our leader.  She has a top-level work ethic backed by being a tremendous teammate. Malone always brings a positive attitude to our team through her passion for the game. She is irreplaceable on both offense and defense.” – Kevin Evans

Greenbrier (3):

Kimberly Cox, 3B/1B: Attend MTSU to major in biology. She hopes to become a dermatologist.

Lizzie Dalton, RF: Attend Vol State to study elementary education and become a teacher.

Snowden Scott, RHP/SS: Attend Vol State to play basketball and possibly softball. She plans to study education and become a math teacher.

Coach’s quote for all three seniors: “As 8th graders, I was warned about what a tough group they would be and how I would have my hands full coaching them. That has never been the case. Over the years, they have grown into the best of friends and a joy to coach. Thank you for being such a blessing in my life over the last four-plus years. I cannot wait to see how each of you grow and what you achieve. Always remember, ‘Once a Lady Cat, always a Lady Cat.’” – Janna Harris

Jo Byrns (2):

Evy Helm, 1B: Attend Vol State for her first two years and then transfer to MTSU. Undecided on major.

Coach’s quote: “Evy came back to play softball for her senior year after sitting out her sophomore and junior years. I was very excited to have her on the team. She is a kid that can just put a smile on your face in any situation. She was going to play first base for us, and with her height, she was a great target for her teammates. I hate the way the season ended for Evy because she came back this year for a reason and for her not to get to showcase what she was capable of is upsetting, but I know she will go on to be great at whatever she decides.” – Jada Head

Jaya Herring, CF: Play softball at MTSU and major in exercise science with plans of later attending a PA program to become a sports medicine physician assistant.

Coach’s quote: “Jaya is just an all-around good kid on and off the field. She brings a lot of energy to the game. She is a great leader. Her ability to cover the outfield is something else, the speed she has on the bases is a catcher’s worst nightmare. Being the lead-off hitter, you knew once she got on she would be advancing to the next base until she reached home plate. We will definitely miss her, but we are all excited to watch and support her on the field with her new team at MTSU.” – Jada Head

Springfield (6):

Emma Asmondy, RHP/1B: Play softball at Midway University.

Coach’s quote: “Emma came in as a freshman and went into our No. 2 pitching role right off the bat. She brought a different level to our pitching staff. She gets on base and always did a great job of getting things started for us (at the top of the lineup).” – Daniel Owsley

Allison Beard, 1B: Attend the University of Tennessee.

Coach’s quote: “Allison’s leadership and maturity level were through the roof. Her work ethic is great too, and we enjoyed having her. Allison is one of those kids who you can’t replace. She was hard-working and gave us everything she had.” – Daniel Owsley

Elizabeth Funk, C/3B: Play softball at Lindsey Wilson College.

Coach’s quote: “Elizabeth was a two-sport athlete here, having also played basketball. We would get her a little late every year, but her knowledge of the game was unusual. Last year, we showed her the things that we wanted with our pitching and she pretty much called her own games all the way through the state tournament. She took our pitching and catching to the next level. She will definitely be missed.” – Daniel Owsley

Abbie Peach, 3B/OF: Play softball at Cumberland University.

Coach’s quote: “We had to have her on the field somewhere. Abbie is one of those kids that you can’t take off the field. She’s a very smart baserunner and an extraordinary bunter. I bugged her every year since she’s been here about her hitting, and in some of the games we got to play this year, she was tearing it up for us. Getting someone to take her place is going to be a challenge.” – Daniel Owsley

Katie Rhodes, SS: Play softball at Midway University.

Coach’s quote: “What a kid. She is like having another coach on the field. Katie makes things happen, understands the game, reads things well. She’ll come over and say, ‘Hey, I noticed this.’ She is one of those kids that really gets it. She’s another one that is going to be really hard to replace.” – Daniel Owsley

Hannah Richardson, 2B/RHP: Attend Austin Peay State University.

Coach’s quote: “Hannah came in and played all four years for us. She was kind of a role player wherever we needed her. She pitched some for us – her and the Asmondy sisters combined for three no-hitters in a tournament last year. Hannah would come in and close the games out. She’s hard-nosed and came up huge for us in the (2019 Region 5-AAA) championship (against Wilson Central), scoring the game-tying run on a squeeze bunt.” – Daniel Owsley

White House (2):

Kennedy Butterworth, CF: Attend MTSU to study nursing.

Coach’s quote: “Kennedy was the ultimate high school player. She realized early in her playing career at White House that she wanted to focus on her career in college and not pursue playing at the next level. She made it her purpose to set the correct example for the younger players.  She gave 110% every day – whether it was at practice or a game.  I will miss the player and everything she did in between the lines but will (also) miss the person for what she embodied for our program and White House High School.” – Cindy Towers

Kyra McCall, C/Utility: Play softball at Midway University and study nursing.

Coach’s quote: “Kyra came in as a freshman and made her mark early. The little redhead was definitely a spark plug. Her tenacity and willingness to learn will serve her well on the field and in the classroom. No matter where you saw her, she always had a smile on her face and was enjoying the game.  I will miss her spirited attitude and her thirst for competition. I feel she can contribute in her new role at Midway.” – Cindy Towers

White House Heritage (3):

Carlee Duke, 1B/2B/LF: Attend Tennessee Tech to study nursing and become a labor and delivery nurse.

Coach’s quote: “Carlee has become an outstanding player over the past 4 years. She is dedicated, hard-working and a true leader. Carlee will succeed at whatever her future holds because of her tenacity and passion for doing things right!” – Kim Snyder

Kailee Gilreath, 3B/C: Attend Western Kentucky to study nursing with hopes of becoming a pediatric nurse.

Coach’s quote: “Kailee has been one of our grittiest players the past few years. I truly appreciate her loyalty! She has been a team player from the start, always working hard to accept any challenge I have thrown her way. Her leadership and smile will be missed!” – Kim Snyder

Staten Holmes, 2B/SS: Attend UT-Chattanooga.

Coach’s quote: “Staten has always been a model of determination and competitiveness. She has been a major asset for our infield since her sophomore year. Her drive to always do her best leaves her teammates with big expectations.” – Kim Snyder

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