Mike Fields' high school notebook: Six Mr. Baseballs from Kentucky in major leagues

Herald-Leader Staff writerMay 24, 2012 

Need to be reminded that Kentucky high school baseball is superior to Kentucky high school basketball and football when it comes to producing big-time talent?

No former Kentucky Mr. Basketball honorees are in the NBA. Darius Miller (Mason County, 2008) could change that next season.

Only one former Kentucky Mr. Football is in the NFL: Michael Bush (Male, 2002) is with the Chicago Bears this season after playing for the Oakland Raiders the past few years.

Six Kentucky Mr. Baseball winners are currently in the major leagues:

Scott Downs (Pleasure Ridge Park, 1994), in his 10th season in the big leagues, has five saves for the Los Angeles Angels.

Austin Kearns (Lafayette, 1998), also a 10-year veteran, has found new life with the Miami Marlins. He was batting . 375 in a reserve role before tweaking a hamstring.

Joe Blanton (Franklin-Simpson, 1999), another 10-year vet, is having a solid season in the Philadelphia Phillies rotation. He's 4-4 with a 3.74 earned run average.

Collin Cowgill (Henry Clay, 2004) is seeing spot duty in the outfield with the Oakland A's. He was in the highlights recently after he made a head-first slide into home and hit Giants pitcher Tim Lincecum.

Nathan Adcock (North Hardin, 2006) is on the Kansas City Royals' pitching staff. He's appeared in five games.

Ben Revere (Lexington Catholic, 2007) is back from the minors and in the Minnesota Twins outfield. He's batting .270.

That's a pretty impressive list, and it doesn't even include A.J. Ellis (Paul Laurence Dunbar, 1999) or Robbie Ross (Lexington Christian, 2008). Neither was Mr. Baseball, although A.J.'s brother Josh (Dunbar, 2003) was. A.J. is batting .327 as the starting catcher for the Los Angeles Dodgers, and Ross is making a splash as a rookie reliever with the Texas Rangers.

■ Woodford County Coach Jeff Parrett, a former major-league pitcher, lets Yellowjackets' catcher Gage Beavers call pitches instead of having a coach relay them to him from the dugout as most teams do. Parrett said he learned from playing for manager Tony LaRussa and pitching coach Dave Duncan in Oakland and St. Louis that "if these guys have an idea and believe in what they're doing, I let them call their own game. It gives the kids an opportunity to learn a little bit, too." Such confidence in his players has paid off. With Clinton Hollon and Logan Parrett (the coach's son) on the mound, Woodford County won the 41st District title by beating Western Hills 3-1 and Franklin County 3-1.

■ The 11th Region baseball tournament, which has produced six state champs since 1999, will be played at Tates Creek next week. First-round games are Monday at 10 a.m., 1 p.m., 4 p.m. and 7 p.m. The eight-team field: Bryan Station, Franklin County, Lexington Catholic, Madison Central, Model, Paul Laurence Dunbar, Scott County and Woodford County. Pairings will be drawn on Sunday afternoon.

■ Four top 25 baseball teams are already out of the playoffs — No. 5 Lafayette, No. 19 Henry Clay, No. 22 Lexington Christian and No. 24 Boone County.

■ The 11th Region softball tournament will be played at EKU starting with four games on Monday at 10 a.m., noon, 2 p.m. and 4 p.m. The eight-team field: Dunbar, Henry Clay, Franklin County, Madison Central, Madison Southern, Scott County, Tates Creek and Woodford County. Pairings will be drawn on Saturday afternoon.

■ Three top 25 softball teams are already out of the playoffs: No. 11 Lafayette, No. 20 Daviess County and No. 21 Heath.

■ Defending state softball champ and top-rated Allen County-Scottsville was upset by Glasgow 1-0 in the 15th District finals. Glasgow ended a 25-game losing streak to the Patriots. ACS Coach Richard Roberts said he hopes the loss was a "wake-up call," and he still has confidence in his team. ACS is led by Kelsi Pardue, last year's state tournament MVP. The WKU signee is hitting .429 and is a pitching star. She's 28-4 with a 0.56 ERA. In her career she has 109 victories and more than 1,200 strikeouts. Catcher Sandy Young, who signed with Asbury, is batting .472.

■ Mercer County Coach Steve Lyons is touting senior pitcher Tabby Shewmaker for Miss Softball honors. Shewmaker, who led the Titans to their first district title this week, has more than 300 strikeouts this season, and has topped 1,000 K's in her career. She's also batting better than .500 this year.

■ After this column noted a couple of weeks ago the 30th anniversary of Madison Central's undefeated (40-0) state baseball championship, a Harrison County fan wanted it mentioned that 15 years ago Mac Whitaker's Thorobreds had a state title to remember, too. Harrison County was indeed a juggernaut in 1997. It went 40-1, including a 37-0 record against Kentucky competition. The 'Breds, led by the pitching of Bubba Hignite and the hitting of Noochie Varner and Will Renaker, finished the season on a 34-game winning streak. Harrison County established state records that still stand for runs (550), hits (543) and RBI (475). It won nine playoff games by a combined score of 114-14.

■ Mason County's Aaron Scilley threw a five-inning perfect game in 10-0 district win over Augusta. Scilley struck out 11 of 15 batters.

■ The state track and field championships were a showcase for football stars, including speedy receivers James Quick of Trinity and Ryan Timmons of Franklin County. Quick, who helped Trinity win state titles in football and basketball, broke the state meet record in the 200 meters with a time of 20.94 seconds. He ran second in the Class 3A 100 with a time of 10.70. Timmons, who has a football scholarship offer from Kentucky, swept the 100 (10.84) and 200 (21.90) in Class 2A. Apollo's Hunter Bivin, a lineman who's committed to Notre Dame, won the 3A shot put (55-03.75), and Paducah Tilghman receiver J.D. Harmon, who plans to walk on at UK, won the 2A triple jump (46-02.25).

■ J.J. Jude of Johnson Central, a two-time state wrestling champ and the state's all-team leading rusher in football, and Boone County's Sydney Moss, who was chosen Miss Basketball, will receive the Dr. Rudy Ellis Sports Medicine High School Athlete of the Year awards at the Kentucky Hall of Fame banquet on June 7 in Louisville. Jude will play football at EKU. Moss will play basketball at Florida.

■ Jim Youngman has been named boys' basketball coach at Thomas Nelson, a new high school that opens in Bardstown in August. Youngman was at Greenup County this past season. He previously coached in Illinois and has an overall record of 265-167 in 16 seasons. Dwayne Hogan will be the girls' basketball coach at Thomas Nelson. He's a former Nelson County assistant. Thomas Nelson's first football coach will be Greg Brohm, a former Trinity standout who was a wide receiver at Louisville and was a Cardinals assistant under Bobby Petrino.

■ Dunbar junior guard Kierra Muhammad, who averaged 10 points and four steals for the Bulldogs' Sweet Sixteen semifinal team, committed to WKU and new coach Michelle Clark-Heard. Dunbar Coach Sarah Van Horn said EKU, Eastern Illinois and Tennessee State were among other schools interested in Muhammad.

■ Darius Gibson, an all-city basketball player at Tates Creek, has signed with Eastern Arizona College.

■ Robbie Graham is the new girls' basketball coach at Clark County. He succeeds Scott True, who left for Lexington Catholic. Graham, an all-stater at Fleming County in the late 1980s, has been a boys' assistant at Clark County the past seven years.

■ After resigning as boys' basketball coach at Harlan County last week, Mike Jones changed his mind and will stay on the job, the Harlan Daily Enterprise reported. Jones has coached the Black Bears since the school opened four years ago. He has an overall record of 574-231 in 26 seasons, including stops at Cawood, Jackson County, Todd Central, Harlan and Clay County.

■ David Parks, a star player at Evarts in the 1970s and head coach of the Trojans in the 1980s and '90s, is the new boys' coach at Harlan.

■ Pleasure Ridge Park basketball standouts Jeril Taylor and Coretz Macklin are headed to Rend Lake Community College in Illinois. Taylor is the son of former PRP star Charlie Taylor. Macklin's dad is former PRP star Danyell Macklin.

■ Tates Creek won the Division II state lacrosse title, beating North Oldham 10-7 last Friday.

Mike Fields: (859) 231-3337. Email: mfields@herald-leader. Twitter: @MikeFieldsNotes.Blog: fieldsnotes.bloginky.com

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