A great thing about baseball is that it has no clock. A cruel thing about baseball is that is has no clock.
The latter truth was on stark display in the 11th Region Tournament finals at Tates Creek on Wednesday when the fifth and sixth innings seemed to go on forever as Woodford County sent 27 batters to the plate and scored 18 runs on its way to a 19-5 rout of Bryan Station.
Yellowjackets fans were overjoyed to see their team clinch the school's first-ever region baseball title, but everybody else wanted to avert their eyes as Bryan Station self-destructed. The Defenders committed seven errors in the fifth, and used five pitchers in the sixth in a futile attempt to put the brakes on what Coach Eddie Brooks called a runaway train.
That's baseball. No clock, no horn, no whistle to end a team's misery when its fate has already been sealed.
■ Jay Lucas, who coached Woodford County to more than 400 baseball victories in 20 years before turning the reins over to Jeff Parrett this season, didn't attend the region tournament. He didn't want to jinx the Jackets. Lucas, who is the longtime girls' basketball coach at Woodford County, had a scheduling conflict and couldn't make it to Monday's baseball region opener. But he did watch the Internet broadcast of the Jackets' first-round win over Paul Laurence Dunbar. After that, he didn't want to change his routine. "I'm very superstitious," he said, "so I watched Tuesday's and Wednesday's games on the computer, too. I was cheering from my easy chair. I'm so happy for the team and the coaches, and proud of how far they've gone." Lucas and Parrett have been exchanging text messages, discussing pitching strategy in next week's state tournament. Lucas said he will be at Whitaker Bank Ballpark to watch his former players take on Powell County on Monday night.
■ Bryan Station is region runner-up for the seventh time in the last 30 years. A few of its title-game losses have been memorable for their anguish quotient. In 1986, Tates Creek beat the Defenders 12-10 when a ball glanced off the glove of a Bryan Station outfielder and went over the fence for a grand slam. Tates Creek went on to win the state title that year. In 1990, because of rain delays, Bryan Station had to play the semifinals and finals on the same day. After beating Woodford County in a three-hour semifinal, the Defenders took a 30-minute break before taking on Tates Creek in the championship game. They lost 16-3. In 2009, Bryan Station, a decided underdog, pushed eventual state champ Lexington Catholic to the limit before losing 9-8 in the region finals. The Defenders left the tying and go-ahead runs in scoring position in the seventh.
■ Woodford County junior Logan Parrett's flirtation with a perfect game in the region semifinals brought to mind a few stellar region pitching performances of the past. In 1992, Lafayette ace Curtis Whitney threw a no-hitter, with 10 strikeouts, in a 3-0 win over Lexington Catholic in the 11th Region finals. In 1999, Pulaski County's Shannon Helton had 20 K's in a 5-0 no-hit victory over East Jessamine in the 12th Region semifinals, and teammate Daniel Carrender had 15 strikeouts in a 1-0 perfect game against Somerset in the finals. In 2003, Male's Scott Green threw a perfect game in a 3-0 semi-state win over Anderson County.
■ Jeff Parrett coached Woodford County to its first region title in baseball, but it wasn't Parrett's first region championship. In 1979, in his senior season at Lafayette, he helped the Generals win the 12th Region. After pitching in all three district games (81⁄3 innings total), Parrett threw a complete game in a 9-1 victory over Madison Central in the first round of the region. Lafayette went on to beat Boyle County in the semifinals and Russell County in the finals. Parrett didn't pitch in those games, but contributed four hits and four RBI. Thirty-three years later, his son Logan had a complete-game win over Madison Central in the region.
■ South Warren, in only its second year of existence, won the 4th Region baseball title, beating No. 6 Bowling Green 4-3 in the finals. South Warren beat the Purples by the same score in the district finals. The Spartans will play the 5th Region champ (Central Hardin or LaRue County) in the first round of the state tournament.
■ Chase Mullins, Bourbon County's 6-foot-9 senior left-hander, finished his career by throwing a no-hitter in a 2-1 loss to Harrison County in the 10th Region semifinals. Mullins had 13 strikeouts, five walks and hit the same batter twice. Harrison County got the winning run in the fifth inning when Paul Jones stole home. "The kid went out well," Bourbon County Coach Nelson Faris said of Mullins, who has signed with UK but may have an option to go pro after next week's draft.
■ Logan McQuerry's five-year baseball career at Clark County came to an end with the Cardinals' loss to Bishop Brossart in the 10th Region. McQuerry played himself into the state record book with 236 hits (tie-second), 56 doubles (sixth), 190 runs (ninth), .450 batting average (tie-15th) and 175 RBI (16th). McQuerry, also a star in the classroom, will play for Marion Military Institute in Marion, Ala., next season. He plans to apply to one of the U.S. Service academies next year.
■ Hager Collins, who helped Lexington Christian win the state golf championship the past two years, has had a change of heart about college. Collins got his release from Pepperdine and will instead play for UK.
■ Joseph Gillette of Lexington, a sophomore at Massanutten Military Academy in Woodstock, Va., was named the baseball team's most outstanding player for this season. Gillette had an 8-2 pitching record, with 82 K's in 48 innings. He also played shortstop and batted .524 with 18 RBI, and struck out only four times.
■ To correct an item in last week's notebook, Franklin County football star Ryan Timmons has scholarship offers from UK, Arkansas, Cincinnati, Illinois and Western Kentucky, while Ohio State and Wisconsin are showing interest.
■ Madison Central basketball star Dominique Hawkins, who will be one of the top seniors in the state next season, has scholarship offers from WKU, Tennessee Tech and Valparaiso. Madison Central Coach Allen Feldhaus said new Morehead State coach Sean Woods told him the Eagles will also offer Hawkins. "And a bunch of people will be watching him in July," Feldhaus said.
■ The Kentucky All-Stars, led by Mr. Basketball Nathan Dieudonne and Miss Basketball Sydney Moss, will be scrimmaging junior all-stars at Paul Laurence Dunbar on Tuesday night. The girls play at 6 p.m. followed by the boys. They'll scrimmage again Wednesday night at Trinity. Kentucky boys' coach Jason Booher knows Indiana presents a big challenge. "I was telling the team that nine of Indiana's 12 players are either Big East or Big Ten signees. We don't have anybody who signed with a major conference school. We're going to be under-manned individually, so we have to be a better team." Mekale McKay won't play for the Kentucky stars because he has to start classes at Arkansas, where he signed to play football. Fairview standout Mike Terry is questionable because of a knee injury. Kentucky and Indiana play June 8 in Freedom Hall in Louisville, and June 9 in Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis.
■ Transylvania women's basketball has signed Alex Botkin, an all-city player at Lexington Catholic, and Katelyn Smith, who helped lead Perry Central to the Sweet Sixteen this past season.
■ Former Henry Clay all-city softball player Campbell Query, a senior infielder at Muskingum University in New Concord, Ohio, earned all-Ohio Athletic Conference academic honors.
■ Western Hills grad Logan Coffey was a freshman reserve infielder on Marietta (Ohio) College's baseball team that won its second consecutive NCAA Division III championship this week, and its sixth title overall.