HIGH SCHOOL SOFTBALL: VanHoose named Player of the Year; Estep garners coaching honor

Johnson Central’s Chloe VanHoose ended her high school career on the state’s biggest stage this past season.

Pitching the Lady Eagles into the state tournament for a second straight year. She finished 16-6 overall, with an ERA of 1.57. VanHoose struck out 243 batters while allowing only 30 walks in 152 innings.

She was honored on Wednesday by being named the Mountain Top Sports Player of the Year.

The first team is captained by Pikeville junior hurler Emily Ford, who finished 27-8. She had 400 strikeouts in 236 innings, becoming the school’s all-time leader.

Other first-team pitchers including Letcher Central’s Makenna Johnson, Paintsville’s Laney Bledsoe, and Belfry’s Molly Fahm.

Pike Central’s Sydnee Lowe and Lawrence County’s Dani Crum were chosen as catchers.

Infielders named were Pikeville’s Kelsey Adams, Belfry’s Linzee Phillips, Johnson Central’s Clara Blair, Lawrence County’s Kensley Feltner, and Magoffin County’s Jennifer Bailey.

Outfielders honored were Letcher Central’s Abigail McDougal, Lawrence County’s Bree Jones, Johnson Central’s Emily Adkins, and Pikeville’s Olivia Hall.

Utility players were Johnson Central’s Randi Delong and Shelby Valley’s Kyra Looney and Riley Fleming.

Magoffin County’s Emily Bailey was named captain of the second team.

Johnson Central’s Phillip Estep was named top coach after leading the Lady Eagles to a school record 33 wins and a second straight state tournament appearance.

Here is a look at the 2021 Mountain Top Sports All-Area Softball Teams:

Player of the Year: Chloe VanHoose, Sr., Johnson Central

Coach of the Year: Phillip Estep, Johnson Central


P – Emily Ford, Jr., Pikeville (Capt.)

P – Makenna Johnson, So., Letcher Central

P – Laney Bledsoe, Fr., Paintsville

P – Molly Fahm, Fr., Belfry

C – Sydnee Lowe, Sr., Pike Central

C – Dani Crum, Fr., Lawrence County

INF – Kelsey Adams, Jr., Pikeville

INF – Linzee Phillips, Jr., Belfry

INF – Clara Blair, Jr., Johnson Central

INF – Kensley Feltner, So., Lawrence County

INF – Jennifer Bailey, Sr., Magoffin County

OF – Abigail McDougal, So., Letcher Central

OF – Bree Jones, 8th, Lawrence County

OF – Emily Adkins, So., Johnson Central

OF – Olivia Hall, Jr., Pikeville

UTL – Randi Delong, So., Johnson Central

UTL – Kyra Looney, Jr., Shelby Valley

UTL – Riley Fleming, 9th, Shelby Valley


P – Holly Handshoe, Sr., Magoffin County

P – Haleigh Jefferson, Jr., Prestonsburg

P – Madelyn Vaughn, Jr. Johnson Central

P – Lily Napier, Sr., Shelby Valley

C – Ginna Jones, Fr., Pikeville

C – Natalie Fite, So., Belfry

INF – Emily Bailey, Sr., Magoffin County (Capt.)

INF – Maggie Hall, Sr., Shelby Valley

INF – Chelsea Johnson, Fr., Floyd Central

INF – Shae Robinson, Sr., Prestonsburg

INF – Chloe Stewart, Sr., East Ridge

OF – Chloe Wampler, Fr., Letcher Central

OF – Shana Ray, So., Pikeville

OF – Brittany Thompson, Jr., Martin County

OF – Madison Prater, Sr., Phelps

UTL – Emalie Tackett, Jr., Pike Central

UTL – Lauryn Watkins, Sr., Betsy Layne

UTL – Abby Nelson, Fr., Lawrence County


Mayson Delong, Kendal Hall, Abigail Williams, Johnson Central; Autumn Wampler, Gracie McDougal, Letcher Central; Brianna Tello, Kylie Phillips, Belfry; Taylor Hannah, Ashley Wells, Chloe Hannah, Chessa Collins, Paintsville; Madson Norman, Jaycie Stanley, Phelps; Brynnalyn Smith, Skyla Messer, Savannah Young, Martin County; Katie Jo Moore, Gracie Martin, Ashley Bellamy, Floyd Central;

Jada Slone, Chloe Collins, Prestonsburg, Alexis Ritchie, Jerrica Thacker, Anna Eldridge, Jenkins; Amelia Cure, Savannah Baldridge, East Ridge; Katelyn Thompson, Olivia Bowling, Shelby Valley; Lilly Blackburn, Pike Central; Livia Sanders, Emily Lawson, Dailey Damron, Pike Central; Isabella Rose, Cassidy Slater, Pikeville; Taylor Blevins, Lawrence County; Emily Johnson, Sydney Newsome, Madi Meade, Betsy Layne.