QUICK HITTER STORY/South Warren bows out in KHSAA state semifinals in 2-0 loss to Anna Kemp, Henderson County


LEXINGTON — Ultimately, the night would belong to Henderson County and junior right-handed pitcher Anna Kemp.

After three weather delays, South Warren and Henderson County took the field at the University of Kentucky’s John Cropp Stadium, and offense was at a premium in the early innings.

It stayed that way for the Spartans, who managed just one hit against Kemp, who guided the Lady Colonels to a 2-0 victory over No. 1-ranked South Warren before a crowd of 1,178 on Friday night.

Courtney Norwood, South Warren’s freshman right-hander, gave her team a splendid effort, but she yielded to teammate Layla Ogden after giving up a solo home run to Henderson County’s MacKenzie Burczyk to lead off the sixth inning. Alyse Rollings, Henderson’s leadoff batter, followed with a solo home run of her own, a towering shot to left field that provided a critical insurance run for the Lady Colonels.

South Warren would finish another banner season under seventh-year coach Kelly Reynolds with a 39-4 overall record, the most victories in a single season in school history. The Spartans were making their second appearance in the KHSAA state semifinals in the last three years, but they couldn’t solve Kemp, who earned her 23rd victory against a single defeat this season.

” We just didn’t perform, offensively, tonight,” Reynolds said. “They’re a good hitting team, and we knew that going in … I’m proud of our girls. I’ve said it all year … The future is bright for South Warren softball.”

The Spartans never had a base runner reach third base.

In the third inning, South’s Kinleigh Russell lashed a two-out double to left-center field, but Hadley Borders chased Kemp’s first pitch, and she was retired on a fly ball to right field to end the threat.

Then, in the top of the seventh, South’s Layla Ogden drew a leadoff walk, and Spartans catcher Hayden Holloway connected on a Kemp pitch that brought her team’s fans to their feet.

Holloway’s fly ball, however, would only reach the warning track in center field, and Kemp retired the next two batters she faced to send the Lady Colonels to Saturday night’s championship game.

Henderson County (35-5) will face North Laurel (29-9) in the title game, while South Warren will return the bulk of its squad for the 2025 season. The Spartans had just two seniors on their roster this year, pitcher/outfielder Olivia Skaggs and utility player Alexis Martin.

“I thanked our seniors for their contributions to the team,” Reynolds said.

South’s Courtney Norwood retired the first 10 HCHS batters she faced. Henderson County’s Taylor Troutman doubled off the fence in left-center field with one out in the fourth, but she was called for runner’s interference on a ground ball to South’s shortstop, McLaine Hudson, and was ruled out on the play.

Hudson then made a strong defensive play on Anna Kemp’s sharply hit ball up the middle, keeping the game scoreless through four innings.

Norwood took the loss for the Spartans, and she finishes the season with a 16-3 record.

I’ll have more on the game, and South Warren’s record-setting season, for jimmashek.com on Saturday morning. Thanks for reading.