Micah Miniard was on the mound for Boyle County on Wednesday afternoon, and seven pro scouts lined up behind the backstop to get another look at the 6-foot-7 senior right-hander before the Major League Baseball Draft on June 5.
Squeezed in among the scouts was Matt Myers, Western Kentucky University's coach who signed Miniard last fall. Myers hopes to have Miniard on WKU's campus later this summer. He knows that might not happen. Miniard, the best prospect among the state's high school players, might turn pro if he's drafted high enough next month.
"I hope so," Miniard said.
Miniard's potential is off the charts. He's 6-7, 220 pounds with a strong arm and a desire to get better.
"There's no question his best baseball is ahead of him," Boyle County Coach Kyle Wynn said. "He's starting to figure things out, and it's exciting to think what happens after this."
Myers described Miniard as "a first-class kid. His talent is easy to like, but his make-up is what I like best. His parents (Brian and Denise Miniard) raised him right."
Myers noted that Miniard doesn't try to just overpower batters. "You don't see a lot of 6-7 kids with pitchability and feel. Micah not only has velocity, he does a good job of pitching."
Miniard was workmanlike in Wednesday's five-inning, 11-0 win over Madison Southern. He had eight strikeouts, one walk and gave up two infield hits. His fastball, which regularly topped 90 mph earlier this spring, was in the mid-to-high 80s on this warm afternoon. He also threw his slider consistently for strikes.
As a junior, Miniard won five games and had a save, with a 2.24 earned run average and 76 strikeouts in 561⁄3 innings. This season he's also won five games, with a 1.76 ERA and once again has 76 strikeouts in 561⁄3 innings. He's had a few no-decisions and a couple relief appearances.
Miniard's stock rose last summer in national showcases. He didn't play basketball this winter so he could lift weights and get stronger. He's put on about 30 pounds.
Miniard sees himself in a win-win situation. "I'm thinking about (the draft), but I've just gotta let it happen and then make a decision."
WKU is a nice fall-back option. His sister Hannah is a freshman softball pitcher for the Hilltoppers and has won 13 games this season.
■ Beechwood won the Touchstone Energy All "A" Classic baseball title at Whitaker Bank Ballpark last weekend. The Tigers mauled Hazard and Paintsville by 11-1 scores, then edged Danville 9-6 in eight innings in the finals. Beechwood sophomore center fielder Ethan Stringer, who has already committed to Louisville, was tournament MVP. He got six hits, six runs and knocked in eight runs in three games. He also pitched three innings of one-hit relief in the finals and got the win.
■ Hopkinsville pitchers Keaton Scruggs and Easton McGee threw back-to-back five-inning perfect games as the Tigers swept a doubleheader with Fort Campbell 22-0 and 12-0. Scruggs had eight strikeouts and McGee, a sophomore who's getting looks from UK, had 12.
■ Franklin County pitcher Michael Hurt, who missed most of his junior year because of sickness, got his first start this season on senior night Monday against Owen County. Hurt, who had been a reliable reliever this spring, made the most of the start by throwing a no-hitter in an 8-3 win. He had four strikeouts and no walks in seven innings. Franklin County had six errors that led to Owen County's three runs.
■ Mason County senior first baseman Michael Sutton hit two grand slams in a 13-run first inning against Bracken County last week. The Royals won 20-0.
■ Bob Eades, who's been umpiring high school or college baseball for 23 years, was in Hattiesburg, Miss., a few weeks ago to be inducted into the William Carey University Hall of Fame. Eades, from Boone County, played second base on William Carey's 1969 baseball team that won the NAIA national title. He was a four-year starter in baseball, and also played basketball for the Crusaders. Two other players on that national championship baseball team were inducted along with Eades — Jim Arnold from Newport and Dale Willis of Portsmouth, Ohio. Eades went on to coach high school basketball and baseball at Walton-Verona, Grant County and Paris.
■ Male High School softball pitcher Jessica Wireman had 16 strikeouts in a five-inning 10-0 win over Bourbon County. Wireman, who has signed with Eastern Illinois, threw a no-hitter. She had four K's in one inning because of a passed ball on one of her strikeouts.
■ Tates Creek softball coach John Groft is stepping down after the season. In Groft's three years in charge, the Commodores upgraded their facilities and went to Florida for spring break for the first time in seven years.
■ J.B. Holmes won the Wells Fargo Championship on Sunday, giving the former state high school golf champ from Taylor County three wins on the PGA Tour. Other Kentucky high school grads and their victory totals on the tour: Kenny Perry (Lone Oak, 14 wins); Bobby Nichols (St. Xavier, 12); Frank Beard (St. Xavier, 11); Gay Brewer (Lafayette, 10); Steve Flesch (Covington Catholic, four); Jodie Mudd (Butler, four); Ted Schulz (Ballard, two), and Russ Cochran (Paducah St. Mary, one).
■ Ray Graham is ready for a new challenge at age 60. He's the new football coach at Rowan County, where he got his first head coaching job in 1980. Graham has 220 career victories, most of them coming in 25 years at Harrison County. He left the Thorobreds to join Paul Rains' staff at Lexington Christian Academy in 2008, When Rains resigned a few months before the 2010 season, Graham took over as head coach. LCA fired him last fall after the injury-riddled Eagles went 1-10. "It was a long, cold winter, but spring has sprung," Graham said. "I couldn't be happier." Graham has been a substitute teacher at Rowan County since Feburary. When Kyle Singleton resigned as Vikings football coach in late March, Graham became interim coach for spring practice. Now he has the job for real. Graham and Rowan County principal Ray Ginter have known each other a long time. After graduating from Morehead State in the mid-1970s, Graham was an assistant at Highlands, and Ginter was a star player on that team. In his previous stint at Rowan County, Graham had a three-year record of 24-11, including an 11-1 mark in 1981 when the Vikings reached the state semifinals.
■ Justin Haddix is leaving Perry County Central to become football coach at Corbin. "I've always looked at Corbin as one of the top football jobs in the state of Kentucky. When you think of football, you think of Corbin and all its tradition," Haddix said. Steve Jewell stepped down as Redhounds coach last month to become assistant principal. Haddix quarterbacked Breathitt County to an undefeated state title in 2002. After playing at WKU, he returned home and was a Bobcats assistant under Mike Holcomb in 2008 and '09. At age 25, Haddix got his first head coaching job at Perry Central and had a 26-20 record in four years.
■ Ryan Betlach, a three-year starter in football at Tates Creek and a standout in the classroom, will walk on at Louisville as a long snapper, and he'll attend the Speed School of Engineering.
■ Evan Merrick is Marshall County's new football coach after serving eight years as an assistant.
■ Powell County has hired Ryan Whitaker as its boys' basketball coach. Whitaker played on Pikeville's national championship NAIA team and has been as assistant to Kelly Wells at UPike.
■ Bryan Station's Marcellous Washington, who averaged 11 points a game this season and earned second-team all-city honors, signed with Sinclair Community College in Dayton, Ohio. Charles Sweatt-Washington, a Lafayette grad, was honorable mention all-conference as a freshman at Sinclair this season.
■ Bryan Station's Daquice Allen (7 ppg) signed with Asbury, where he'll join former Defender Tyler Smith, who started the last eight games last season as a freshman.
■ Montgomery County will have its fifth boys' basketball coach in five years after the resignation of Jason Holland this week. Since Keith Griesser stepped down in 2011 after four years at the helm, Tony Wise, Happy Osborne and Holland had one-year stints as coach.
■ Jimmy Voight, Pulaski County's new boys' basketball coach, has decades of experience. He's coached high school ball at Pineville, Whitley County and Owensboro, and college ball at New Mexico Junior College, Eastern Oklahoma State, Bacone Junior College in Oklahoma, and Louisiana-Monroe.
■ Centre College senior tennis player Kathyn Hays (Paul Laurence Dunbar) was first team All-Southern Athletic Association for the third time in four years. Hays played No. 1 for Centre this season. She won eight singles and six doubles matches.