With a little more than a month left in the high school baseball regular season, we’re down to one team left standing with an unblemished record.
At 16-0 entering Thursday, Greenup County has bested the school mark for wins to start a season. In state history only 12 different schools have put together win streaks of 20 or more (Madison Central has done it four times, including a state-best 44 straight wins spanning the 1982 and 1983 seasons).
The Greenup squad these Musketeers passed for the school record? Greenup won its first 15 games in 1996, lost to Henry Clay on a neutral field, then reeled off 21 straight en route to a top-25 national ranking and the program’s only appearance in the state finals. It fell to Pleasure Ridge Park, 5-3.
Greenup, ranked sixth in the latest coaches poll, has tasted postseason joy and agony last season. Greenup fell to Highlands in the state semifinals a year ago, but didn’t lose a single senior to graduation.
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Coach Greg Logan said, “this is one of the teams that you dream about.” Greenup has eight seniors to provide guidance but still trots several underclassmen with three sophomores and two juniors in the starting lineup. Their top two pitchers, Tristan Downing and Jaxon Keeton, are juniors. Senior pitchers Zach Hayden and Ethan Coldiron have come up big in their time with the program, as has sophomore Kyle Gammon, who went 7-for-7 in save opportunities last season and shores up a strong defensive infield at second base this year.
“The kids know how to pitch,” said Logan, in his 10th season with the program. “That has always been a big makeup of our success. We strive and we thrive on getting quality pitching.”
Logan called Brady Shoupe, Greenup’s catcher who has signed with Morehead State, the best at his position in the state. Gage Hughes, a sophomore shortstop committed to Cincinnati, and senior center fielder Jared Hunt have been pivotal players for the Musketeers as well.
Greenup tries to play as much quality competition as it can. It picked up wins over defending state champion West Jessamine and Pleasure Ridge Park in Florida during spring break and has beaten fellow region contenders Ashland Blazer and West Carter. The Musketeers will play Fern Creek, East Jessamine and Lafayette as part of the Fayette County Invitational on May 13-14.
It’s nice to be undefeated, but Logan’s dream team is bigger than that.
“Sometimes they play pretty good and sometimes we get lucky. As long as you put both of them together, sometimes it works out. ... We’re glad to be 16-0 but the end is what we’re after.”
▪ Six teams had one loss entering Thursday: Carroll County, Central Hardin, Jackson County, Madison Central, Meade County and Prestonsburg.
More basketball to be played in Lexington
The high school season is over, but we all know basketball never stops. Especially in Kentucky.
Transylvania will host the boys’ and girls’ Dawahares East-West All-Star Games on Saturday, which are put on by the Kentucky Association of Basketball Coaches. Players who won or were runners-up for KABC regional awards were invited to participate.
Paul Laurence Dunbar boys’ coach Scott Chalk, also executive director of the KABC, said because of a new NCAA policy which allows high school seniors to participate in any number of all-star games, the KABC isn’t sure what the final game rosters will look like.
Chalk confirmed that Elizabethtown’s Erin Boley and Jenkins’ Whitney Creech won’t be playing for the girls. Quentin Goodin of Taylor County won’t play for the boys, he said.
Dunbar’s Darius Williams, co-player of the year along with Isaiah “Pun” Tisdale in the 11th Region, will play. Henry Clay boys’ coach Daniel Brown said Tisdale won’t play because the Blue Devils’ prom is Saturday. Henry Clay girls’ star T’laya Lyvers will miss for the same reason, Coach Eric Sanford said.
Owen County’s Carson Williams, Kentucky’s Mr. Basketball who has signed with Northern Kentucky, will play in the game, according to Rebels Coach Devin Duvall. Carson Williams, along with Goodin and Bullitt East’s Tyler Sharpe, will play in the Derby Festival Classic at Freedom Hall in Louisville on Friday.
The girls’ game begins at 6 p.m. with the boys to follow at about 8. Tickets are $5.
“This will be a great showcase of some of the best players in the senior class,” Chalk said. “Don’t miss your last chance to see these players before they are off to college.”
▪ Ohio swept Kentucky in the boys’ and girls’ Kentucky-Ohio All-Star Games last weekend. The girls fell 76-71 and the boys 94-92, both giving up double-digit leads. Carson Williams was named the Kentucky boys’ MVP while Glasgow’s Bree Glover received the girls’ honor.
Caverna’s Mason Faulkner had a shot to win the boys’ game in the final seconds, but it hit the front of the rim.
LCA softball goes south
▪ Spring-break trips to Florida are commonplace for high school baseball and softball teams looking to work on their games as well as their tans. Lexington Christian’s softball team had not done it until this season.
The program, which is steadily improving, went 4-2 during its trip a couple of weeks ago. Coach Greg Shewmaker, in his fifth season with the Eagles, said the school trying to put together such a trip since he started there. That effort paid off for a young team; four of LCA’s 10 varsity players are in middle school.
“They don’t remember the scores. They remember the friendships and camaraderie,” Shewmaker said. “ ... They bonded then. They talked about things that they would never stop and talk about just in game time.”
The Eagles are 7-6 with wins in five of their last seven outings. They’ve scored 17 and 22 runs in their previous two games, wins at Bryan Station and Danville. The first home game of the season will be 5:30 p.m. Friday against Model.
Shewmaker thinks the success UK has had under Rachel Lawson in recent years has elevated softball in Lexington. Having coaches like Shawn Hendrickson at Transylvania and ex-Cat Samantha DeMartine at Asbury is transformative, too.
“Softball in this area’s getting better,” Shewmaker said. “It’s just one brick at a time.”
Station hurdler eyes records
Bryan Station’s Isaiah McCall seems poised to defend his Class 3A state titles in the 110- and 300-meter hurdles come May.
The junior cleared the 110 in 14.35 seconds, the fastest time in the state this season, during Monday’s Commodore Classic at Tates Creek. He wants to go even faster.
“I kind of want the state record, actually,” McCall said. He also wants the state record in the 300.
The state record of 13.80 for the 110 hurdles has stood for 41 years after Manual’s James Triplett set it in 1975. Brandon Bagley of John Hardin set the 300 hurdles record of 37.83 in 2010.
McCall’s 110 mark on Monday was 0.45 seconds faster than his state-winning time last year. He ran a 40.01 to win the 300 at the Commodore Classic. That was a hair slower than his 39.96 finish at the Tates Creek All-Comers meet in March, the best time in the state this year.
The Golden State was kind to a trio of Kentuckians who competed at the Arcadia Invitational in California last weekend.
William Allen, a senior at Paul Laurence Dunbar, came away with a 47.16 in the 400-meter dash, the third-fastest time at the meet. The Alabama signee is the overall state record holder with a 47.09 in the event.
Henry Clay’s Jaron Brooks, an Auburn signee who owns the state’s best marks in high jump and triple jump, finished first in the triple jump and third in the high jump at the meet.
Lily Rowe of Calloway County won the girls’ high jump with a 5-8 in the finals. All three athletes turned in performances which meet the standard to be named to MileSplit’s U.S. First Team.
KHSAA names Outstanding Official nominees
The following individuals were nominated for the KHSAA’s “Outstanding Official of the Year” awards, to be presented May 1 to one official for each sport in which the KHSAA licenses officials.
Baseball: Paul Schardein (Louisville), Chris Minter (Richmond), Creal Waddell (Bowling Green); Basketball: Romonte Dishman (Louisville), Molly Caldwell (Lexington), Jim Cecil (Pikeville), Harold Byrd (Mount Washington); Competitive cheer: Gayle Trame (Taylor Mill), Dewana Warrix (Lexington); Field hockey: Mary Brainard (Lexington), Yaphet Edghill (Louisville); Football: Jim Cecil (Pikeville), Jim Gutterman (Louisville), Joe Lewis (Paducah); Soccer: Keith Green (Wingo), Paul Terry (Bowling Green); Softball: Pete Runyon (Pinsonfork), Steve Chasteen (Cynthiana); Swimming and diving: Ray Stoess (Louisville), Mike Zehnder (Louisville); Track and field/cross country: Kathy Johnston (Lexington), David Clark (Dry Ridge); Volleyball: Scott Wehr (Buckner), Jimmy Beckett (Georgetown); Wrestling: Allen Dennison (Rineyville), Garrett Pikul (Louisville).