TENNERTON – The Buckhannon-Upshur Lady Bucs will have a strong presence in the 2020 North-South All-Star softball games this Thursday at Buffalo High School.
Buckhannon-Upshur’s Olivia Caynor will participate in the All-Star softball games and she will be joined by her coaching staff as they will oversee the team from Region I.
Caynor, the lone senior on the Lady Buc softball team this past spring, never had the opportunity to play her final season as the COVID-19 pandemic struck right before the start of the softball season in March.
Caynor, who recently signed to continue her softball career at West Virginia Wesleyan, was one of 18 athletes selected to play for Region I
“I feel like it's a great opportunity to finish out my high school softball career since I didn't really get a senior season,” stated Caynor. “I think it's awesome that I got picked to participate in the North South All-Star game along with other senior girls from all over the state, especially since we are all in the same situation. I am just looking forward to having a good time playing with people I normally play against.”
“It is a great honor for Olivia,” remarked Buckhannon-Upshur head softball coach Levi Bender. “She joins a pretty select few for our staff since I have been the head coach here joining Julie Tenney, McKinley Gaudet and Alli Robinson. This will also be an amazing way to send her off for her high school career (which was cut short) and give her a taste of what is to come when she heads to West Virginia Wesleyan to play for head coach Steve Warner.”
Bender also said that he was honored that he, along with his staff were chosen to coach the Region I team.
“Our staff being invited to coach a team this year is really great too,” remarked Bender. “It kind of highlights their dedication to our girls and the sport. Tiffany Board, Gini Croaff and Megan Hoone make up a great staff which is balanced and able to assist our girls on multiple levels even outside of softball. I’m really proud of Olivia, Gini, Tiffany and Megan.”
“I like that my coaching staff will be coaching me at the All-Star game because I'm finishing out with the people I started with and who have coached me for four years,” added Caynor.
The 2020 All-Star game will have a different look to it this year.
Instead of a squad from the North and the South playing three games, there will be four teams this year, one representing each of the state’s four regions. The four teams are guaranteed to play two games with the first-round losers playing in a consolation game and the first-round winners playing for the championship. All games will be five innings.
There will also be no skills competition this year.
The decision to change the format this year came from the idea to have more athletes play in the game and it would be difficult for the coaches to select a limited number of players since they weren’t able to watch them play during the season.
Joining Bender and his staff will be Herbert Hoover’s Missy Smith and Nicholas County’s Marie Shaffer guiding Region II, Christian Watts of St. Albans and Donald Barnett of Shady Spring coaching Region III are Sherman’s Jim Henderson and Hurricane’s Meghan Stevens coaching Region IV.
The first all-star game will begin at 10 a.m. with Bender, Caynor and the rest of Region I playing at noon.
The consolation game will be at 2 p.m. with the championship game set for 4 p.m.
The Region I All-Star Team
Oliva Caynor – Buckhannon-Upshur
Haley Birmingham – Brooke
Rachel Kazmirski -- Brooke
Tori Lambert – East Fairmont
Abby Blake – John Marshall
Anna Blake – John Marshall
Mackenzie Hall – John Marshall
Emma Mullenax – North Marion
Maddie Owens – North Marion
Alexa Andrews – Oak Glen
Carly Cooper – Petersburg
Katie Koontz – Petersburg
Bryanna Moreland – Petersburg
Maddy Whetzel – Petersburg
Emma Kennedy – Philip Barbour
Marlee Mincey – Philip Barbour
Leann Carrico – Preston
Emily Pritt -- Preston