Jun. 13—It's been one heck of a month for cousins Abby and Ellie Hammond.
Both student-athletes have turned in impressive seasons in their respective spring sports — Abby, fastpitch softball for Lexington Catholic, and Ellie, singles tennis for Sacred Heart.
So why are these two getting the spotlight in this week's column? It's simple, they both have Laurel County ties.
Abby Hammond just recently won Gatorade Fastpitch Player of the Year as a freshman. That's right, a freshman. She helped guide the Lady Knights to their first-ever appearance in the KHSAA Fastpitch state title game, and the Class 2A state title, winning 30 games in the pitcher's circle while garnering a microscopic 0.69 ERA. She also struck out 313 batters in 212 innings of work (these numbers didn't include Sunday's state title game against Louisville Ballard.
While she's put up dominating numbers in the pitcher's circle, she's been just as dominating at the plate, batting a team-best .505 with 12 home runs, 41 RBI, 52 hits, and 30 runs scored. Hammond only struck out eight times in 103 at-bats — and this is against top-notch competition as well.
Abby comes from a family that loves and excelled at sports. Her father Michael, played basketball, football, and baseball at South Laurel High School while her uncle Mark Hammond, Ellie's father, also played basketball, football, and baseball at South Laurel High School. Her uncle Jay Hammond played the quarterback position at Laurel County High School.
Abby's mother Emily, played basketball for North Laurel High School. She was also a member of Laurel County's 1991 girls' state champion basketball team. Her aunts, Amy Hacker Clark, and Miranda Hacker played on North Laurel's softball teams.
And now, let's take a look at Ellie's feats this spring. She finished with a perfect 26-0 record during her sophomore season at Sacred Heart, which includes winning the KHSAA Girls Tennis Singles State Championship over teammate Lilah Shallcross, 6-0, 7-5. Ellie also helped guide the Valkyries to four consecutive state titles.
If both Abby, and Ellie's success this spring is any indication of things to come, let's just say the future being bright for both is an understatement.