Sayre's Sutton to retire after season

mfields@herald-leader.comMay 16, 2014 

Coach Scott Sutton with his Sayre baseball team. (Mike Fields photo)

Sayre's baseball game at Collins on Thursday was canceled, and that freed up Spartans Coach Scotty Sutton to go watch his favorite player kick up some diamond dust.

That would be his son Sam, an eighth-grader who plays junior varsity baseball for Scott County.

"Anytime I get to watch Sam play, that's the most important thing in my life," Sutton said. "That's when I'm having the most fun."

And that's the reason Sutton is retiring as Sayre's baseball coach after 16 years and almost 250 victories.

He will remain at Sayre and continue to coach girls' basketball, but his days in the dugout are almost over.

"I still have the fire to coach baseball, and I'll miss it greatly," Sutton said. "But watching Sam is what I want to do. He'll be in high school next year. It all goes by too quick not to be there."

(Sam attends Scott County because he also plays football, a sport Sayre doesn't offer.)

Sutton also didn't want to coach against his son. Since Sayre and Scott County are in the 42nd District, they play each other twice a year, and sometimes in the playoffs.

Sutton, 45, coached his last regular-season game on Friday. Sayre beat Nicholas County 12-2 to improve its record to 21-8. The Spartans, who've won 10 of their last 11 games, play host Henry Clay in the 42nd District tournament Monday night.

As he departs, Sutton has Sayre's baseball program on the uptick

"I think it's at an all-time high," he said. "We've got a beautiful facility, and the talent level has gotten better each and every year.

"Knowing they're going to be good for years to come makes it easier to step away."

Sutton is especially excited about the current Spartans, whose starting lineup includes six sophomores.

"This particular group has a chance to be the best in school history," he said.

Sayre has been led this season by sophomore center fielder/pitcher Aiden Elias. He did it again Friday, collecting two hits, driving in four runs, and throwing a complete game against Nicholas County.

Sophomore Michael Flora is the ace of the staff and will start against Henry Clay in the district tournament.

Sophomores Mason Stockham, Christian Courtney and Wyatt Hood have also been major contributors.

Sutton said Hood, who wasn't on the team last season, has been "the surprise of the year. We thought he might only be a pitcher. But he's hammered the ball."

Howard Ball, the only senior on the team who missed most of the season with a leg injury, has returned within the last couple of weeks.

"Howard's been in the dugout talking it up, but it's good to have him and his bat back in the lineup," Sutton said.

Ball, who's played for Sutton since he was a seventh-grader, said Sayre's next coach, "whoever it is, will have big shoes to fill."

Sutton is sure he's making the right decision to give up the reins. "I enjoy coaching, but as soon as a game is over I get to my car and the first thing I do is look at the texts from my wife (Jennifer) to see how Sam did in each at-bat and how he's playing.

"When you're doing that, you know that's where you want to be. At the end of the day it's about my son."

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

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