Lyne Dickey loves the game of softball.
She especially loves being a part of and coaching in the Kentucky-Tennessee All Star Series softball games, which will be played today at Western Kentucky University in Bowling Green.
The inaugural Kentucky/Tennessee game was played June 28, 2006, featuring the top seniors from both states. The series is tied 4-4, with Kentucky winning last year.
"It's just a wonderful time," said Dickey, who retired as Heath's softball coach in 2013, with an offer to join the staff at McCracken County after consolidation. "As a coach, it's very easy to sit back and get caught watching the girls play the game. It's a very competitive game and it should be, because both want to take the traveling trophy back home. So the girls get very serious very quickly. They mean business and as coaches it's our job to make sure they have that opportunity. We have the best in the state and it's fun to watch."
For athletes like McCracken County shortstop Jacqueline Roof, who will be playing tonight, it marks the final time they'll represent their high school in athletic competition. Dickey says that makes the game more fun.
"They know when they leave that field that they are no longer part of their high school teams anymore," said Dickey, who's coached in the series since its inception. "It can be a sad moment. But at the same time it's an exciting moment getting the chance to play for your state in games like this."
And after years of competing against Roof, who was named the Kentucky Softball Coaches Association's 2014 Class 3A Player of the Year and played at Lone Oak before the opening of McCracken County, Dickey can't wait for the chance to be on the same side and watch her end her high school career. Dickey was the color analyst for the web broadcast of the 2014 KHSAA State Softball Tournament in Owensboro where McCracken County took second,
"It's an awesome opportunity for Jacqueline to be here," Dickey said. "She committed to go play at Campbellsville, and she'll be a great player up there. As a coach, I've had the privilege to watch her play for Lone Oak since seventh grade. She's an awesome softball player and it's a joy to watch her on the field.
"That's why I enjoyed watching McCracken County play all those games in the state tournament, because I think she's developed into one of the best softball players in the state and for that much in the nation. She's just an awesome ballplayer."
Call James D. Horne, a Sun sports writer, at 270-575-8661 or follow on Twitter @psunsports.
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