Christian County High School shortstop Emmy Blane had several irons in the fire during her high school career, but that never changed her mindset of always putting the team first.

Blane committed to Kentucky after her freshman year, she navigated the tough task of having her dad as her head coach, she rewrote part of the Lady Colonels record book and in her spare time, she studied and worked hard enough to be Christian County's valedictorian.

But if you ask Blane, she'd give most of it back as long as the Christian County softball program was the best it could be.

That's just Blane. That's just Little Lady Colonel softball.

It's Blane's dedication to her team that makes her this year's Toyota of Hopkinsville Southern Pennyrile Softball Athlete of the Year.

Despite the season not ending the way she thought it would, Blane said what they accomplished is something they'll remember forever.

"I don't necessarily think I have more to prove," she said. "I think what we did in high school kind of speaks for itself. We did a lot of good things even though it didn't end how we wanted it to. I do think I have a bit of a chip on my shoulder going into UK being from where I'm from and this region, it's really competitive, but I always play with a chip on my shoulder. It's not really anything different, but I definitely want to go up to UK and do well and just keep playing the way that I've always played."

But the awards she's received and records she's broken, Blane said that was never a goal of hers.

"I've always played the same way from when I started softball to now," she said. "I was playing varsity, but I wasn't thinking about any of those things at the time."

The Little Lady Colonels were a youth team that started more than a decade ago. It included Blane and several other former Christian County standouts.

Little did Blane know that those girls she met when she was just a kid would become a huge part of her life.

"It's crazy really," she said. "We started this thing in 2007 and we've been as close now as when we started in 2007, nothing has changed. Just coming in here day in and day out and going home and hanging out with them, we're together 24/7 so it really will be a big adjustment. We're all going our separate ways, but we'll stay in touch for sure. But not being with every single one of them every single day will be an adjustment."

At the helm of that team was Johnny Blane, Emmy's father and now former coach of the Christian County Lady Cols.

Blane admitted there was a learning curve with her dad being her coach.

"When we first started, when he first became my coach years ago, we had to really figure some things out because he was harder on me, which always happens, which is fine," she said. "I didn't react well to it at first. We always butted heads then we just figured it out. It was kind of a trial and error thing and got to where we had a really good relationship on the field like we did at home. It was like a trust thing. He knew I was doing what I was supposed to do, and I knew he was doing what was best for the team. We kind of fed off that."

The future Kentucky Wildcat was a Lady Colonel before she was even on the varsity roster. It shows how much the program meant to Blane.

She said it's something she'll never forget and it made her who she is.

"It's really everything," she said. "I feel like this place raised me. I've felt probably every emotion possible in this building right here. Just to be with all the girls every single day, it's really indescribable. The memories we've made, the laughs, the cries, it's irreplaceable to me. I just know as I go on, I know I'm going to a different setting, a different scene, but they'll always be with me. Just the way I play at UK or wherever I may go in the future, it'll always be because of what Christian County taught me."

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