Byrd, Johnson claim top awards in Upper Lakes softball

Published 2:52 pm Tuesday, May 30, 2023

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It’s tough enough as a freshman coming into high school softball play with so many talented upperclassmen to find your role on the team, but for Elizabethton High School freshman pitcher Lela Byrd, it was just another day at the park.
For her efforts from the pitching circle in the 2023 softball season, Byrd was named the Pitcher of the Year in the recently released All Conference Awards for the Upper Lakes.
Joining Byrd as the Defensive Player of the Year was junior catcher Mollie Johnson who was a threat to throw any runner in the league out on an attempted steal. Johnson also pitched some for head coach Ken Hardin’s team.
Joining the Lady Cyclone on the All-Conference team were seniors Kendiy Harris, Maely Ingram, Cheyenne Poiroux, Ember Jensen, and junior Emma O’Quinn. A pair of Lady Cyclones were also named Honorable Mention in junior Lilly McDuffie and freshman Sadie Williams.
The Volunteer Lady Falcons, who reached the Spring Fling State Tournament in Murfreesboro, placed five on the first team as well with Abby Fisher, Jayden Ford, Bryleigh Salyer, Kendra Huff, and Haley Russell making the cut. Honorable Mention was awarded to Zetta Smith, Veda Barton, and Jenna Thomas.
Lady Falcon Adysson Fisher was selected as the Conference Player of the Year, while head coach Jackie Strickler collected Coach of the Year.
Unicoi County’s Faith Bennett was selected as the Offensive Player of the Year. Joining Bennett on first team All-Conference were Cam Peterson, Destiny Bridges, Kari Huskins, Kendall Hensley, and Peyton Higgins. Honorable Mention awards for the Lady Devils included Jala Chandley, Laurel Osborne, Skylar Tipton, Kynzie Jones, and Noly Cooper.
Sullivan East placed Keelye Fields, Katie Botts, Olivia Ashbrook, and Jayla Vance on the All-Conference first-team squad, while Karlee Miller was named as Honorable Mention.
The Tennessee High Lady Vikings had four players make first team with Ashley Worley, Rylee Fields, Kaylie Hughes, and Abigail Haga claiming the honor. Named to the Honorable Mention team were Madisyn Hall, Macie Strouth, and Katy Granger.

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