BE's Bogard signs with Midway to play softball

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By Mike Farner

 MOUNT WASHINGTON – The Bullitt East softball program doesn’t need any holp from its county rivals, past or present, but that doesn’t mean the program and players won’t take a little when it is offered.

     Bullitt East senior Jeri Bogard got a nice assist from former Bullitt Central head coach Buddy Gallemore this spring as the first-year assistant coach at Midway College reached out to her and offered a spot in the Eagles’ program.

     Bogard accepted, signing all the necessary papers in late May in a ceremony in the Bullitt East Media Center that was attended by her family, teammates and both her old and future coaches.

     Bogard was not adamant about playing softball in college. She was prepared to attend the University of Louisville or Jefferson Community and Technical College and just be a student. But then Gallemore and Midway came into the picture and she was hooked.

     “They made contact with me back in March,” Bogard said after all the pictures were taken at her signing ceremony. “Then I went down there for a practice.

     “I was wishing for softball, but if that didn’t work out I would have been happy just being a student,” she added.

     But the visit to the campus near Lexington was a head turner for the senior.

     “I loved it,” Bogard said with a smile. “It’s beautiful and the people are great. Plus, I can visit my parents as it’s not too far away.”

     Because of a loaded roster, Bogard was not in the regular line-up for the Lady Chargers even as a senior. Still, she has the skills to play one of the corner positions on the infield and slide into an outfield slot.

     “I don’t really have a preference,” she said.

     The 18-year old daughter of Tom and Mary Jo Bogard who has an older brother, Jason, will be looking to major in Nursing at Midway. There is some athletic and some academic aide with her signing.

     Bogard started playing softball when she was 5-years old and living in Tennessee. As a seventh-grader she moved to Bullitt County and started in the Bullitt East program that spring. For the last three years she has been part of the Lady Chargers’ varsity program.

     Her biggest memory of playing for Bullitt East?

     “My first time going on the spring break trip to Florida,” she recalled. “It was my junior year and I hit a home run.”

     Midway head coach Leigh Oakley, who has been the coach for the past eight years, made the trip to Mount Washington for the signing along with Gallemore.

     “Buddy has known her for a number of years,” the coach said. “We saw her and had her for a visit. She fell in love with the campus and we loved her.”

     Midway is trying to improve as a program after some lean years. The team was 16-29 this spring, but finished 13-15 in the Kentucky Intercollegiate Athletic Conference. That was good enough for five place in the conference standings in the in the post-season tourney opener, the team knocked off fourth-seeded Asbury before losing out to Indiana University Southeast.

     That team lost three seniors.

     “Jeri will have an opportunity to fight for time on the field,” Oakley said. “I see her fighting for a spot and we’ll go from there.”

     Bullitt East softball coach Ricky Hoffman feels that Bogard can put some power in the Midway lineup.

     “She’s a good power-hitting left-handed batter,” Hoffman pointed out. “She has worked on her swing, changing it from last year. With more reps, that will be her biggest strength.

     “She can step right in and do some pinch-hitting and designated hitting,” the coach added. “She’s pretty versatile. She ran for us some also. She can play anywhere. She was one of the hardest workers we had on the team.”