It’s not often that a freshman cracks the starting lineup in the SEC, but for former Christian County Colonel Emmy Blane, that was the case, and despite having her first year cut short, she’s not worried about herself.
Blane was one of the hundreds of Division I athletes across the country that saw their season end early, but as usual, Blane is more concerned about her teammates.
“Honestly, it doesn’t feel like it’s really a thing,” she said. “Mostly what the rest of the team and the fellow freshmen, what we’re upset about is for the seniors. Everybody keeps saying they’re getting granted another year of eligibility, but I know for our seniors specifically, they have already been accepted into grad school or accepted jobs. They worked just as hard for that as they have their senior season of softball so they can’t really give that up.
“The last couple of months we’ve had is it for them. It’s really heartbreaking for us knowing that they played their last games, and we played our last games with them and no one knew that it was our last game. It’s just knowing that we didn’t know. That’s what’s kind of crazy about it all.”
Kentucky was No. 11 in the final USA Today/NFCA Coaches Poll as they finished the year at 18-4, one of the best starts in program history.
Blane said that adds to the sting of the season-ending.
“We were off to a great start,” she said. “One of the best that UK softball has had to this point. Just for it to get cut off just like that, we don’t even know how to describe it. We played one SEC series, we were getting into the heart of the SEC series’ and now it’s just what could it have been.
“Our goal was the world series and we spoke that into existence every single day, then all of a sudden, that was the first thing we found out is that there’s no world series.
“That was kind of like ‘dang, that’s what we’ve been working for.’ But we had the SEC Championship and that was the next thing. It was just one after the other. All of our goals and everything we worked for as a team was just getting canceled. It was just everything we’ve been working for since August, I mean our whole lives, but as a team since August, is gone. There’s nothing we could do about it.”
Blane said they’re taking it easy right now because they were scheduled to be on spring break during this week, but it won’t be long before everything gets going on.
She said they’re in constant contact with coaches about workouts and nutrition so they can stay on top of their game.
“We’re definitely going to be expected to treat it as if we’re at practice every day,” she said. “So it’s not like it’s over but it’s kind of hard to think of what next season is going to be like six months before we even go back to school.”
Blane isn’t the only local freshman starting in the SEC as former University Heights Academy Blazer Drew McGowan has seen plenty of playing time as well for Mississippi State.
Blane said the two of them making it to the next level says a lot about baseball and softball in the area.
“I think it says a lot about the players Drew and I were on teams with in high school,” she said. “I guess we were the two people on our teams going to the SEC … But every single player on our team, they were competitive and made us better. I know I wouldn’t trade all those years for anything and I’m sure Drew can say the same. Softball and baseball are often overlooked in this town but it’s so special what we do have. The coaches, the memories, each and every day playing since we were six years old. I think it’s a lot more special than people realize.”