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The Central Kentucky Mudcats are no longer just for the boys.
The organization is now in its third year of sponsoring a softball travel team, this year fielding a 14-and-under club. The team went 1-4 in the 127 Challenge, held at Anderson County Community Park over the weekend.
Mudcats' baseball coach Chris Copenhaver started the team when his daughters began to show interest in softball, a first cousin to baseball. Copenhaver says there are differences but they are not major.
“The biggest difference is pitching,” Copenhaver says with a smile. The pitching coach at Anderson County High School, Copenhaver turned softball pitchers over to former Anderson County and current Campbellsville University player Courtney Turpin. T
“That is all hers,” Copenhaver laughed.
Turpin's mother, Cindy Searcy, is also on the coaching staff.
But the rest of the game is similar, just played on a smaller scale. Bases are 60 feet apart, not 90. The game seems to move quicker. But, for the most part, the rules are the same.
“I teach the hitting and fielding,” Copenhaver said.
A big difference within the organization is that the team is not restricted to Anderson County girls.
“There are just too many teams,” Copenhaver said. “There are softball teams everywhere.”
Most of the current Lady Mudcats are from Anderson County, but the team also has players from Shelby County and Marion County. The team mainly plays in weekend tournaments and will continue to do so through mid-August.
It is still a developmental program, though, and records don't mean as much to Copenhaver.
“We finished 1-4 on the weekend but overall we had a good showing with the exception of our game against the Krossfire, who ended up winning (the tournament). We’ve played them pretty well before this summer and they have a very good team. With one of our pitchers out of town this weekend, we were a little outmatched,” he said.
“We are still mixing and matching the line-ups and getting to know the girls where we have a few players from out of town but we saw several positives from them. Our biggest problem is still giving up that one big inning even in our wins this summer. The girls just lose their focus for an inning and we end up giving the other team four or five runs.
"You can’t do that especially against good teams. Of course we do have a young team overall as most have not played for their high school teams yet, and that makes a big difference playing most of the teams we go against who have girls that have played two or three years of high school softball. If we ever put a whole game together, we can be a good team.”