Geno Miller has been coaching baseball long enough to know that a winning streak is as tenuous as a one-run lead with the bases loaded and a sore-armed pitcher on the mound.
So even though his McCracken County team is undefeated (15-0) almost halfway through the season, Miller isn't holding his breath, hoping the Mustangs can keep their streak alive.
"Baseball is a day-to-day game," he said flatly. "You can lose to just about anybody. That's what makes it unique. Honestly, I don't get caught up in wins and losses. I just look at all of this as spring training anyway, just preparation for the post-season."
McCracken County, which made it to the state tournament last year, is favored to make an encore trip to Whitaker Bank Ballpark in June as 1st Region champs.
Never miss a local story.
The Mustangs are led by senior shortstop/pitcher Cole Womack (Western Kentucky signee), senior first baseman Ryan Garner (Georgetown signee) and junior second baseman Keegan Breese (Murray State commit).
Miller, who's won more than 350 games in 13 years, said he tries to put together a schedule that will challenge and improve his team. That's why McCracken County will host Lafayette on Saturday, and play Pleasure Ridge Park in the Louisville Invitational Tournament next weekend. "We've got to keep our focus and maintain our work ethic," Miller said. "We don't want to get caught up in what the scoreboard says. If we go 0-3 this weekend, it's OK if we get better."
■ Covington Catholic (10-0) is the only other unbeaten baseball team in the state. The Colonels play Southwestern (13-1) on Friday. Bill Krumpelbeck, in his 39th season as coach, has led CovCath to more than 900 victories and a state championship (2002).
■ South Laurel senior shortstop Daniel Neal, who has signed with Tennessee, spent most of spring break pounding out hits in Florida. Neal went 16-for-23 (.696), with five doubles and 12 RBI. Last year he hit .477 with 38 RBI, 31 runs and seven homers in leading the Cardinals to the state semifinals.
■ Southwestern junior Trevor Howard has five home runs this season, giving him a school-record 19 in his career. Howard batted .456 with 44 RBI and nine homers last year while helping the Warriors reach the state tournament.
■ Don Richardson, who coached Madison Central to basketball and baseball glory in the 1980s, says one of the guiding philosophies of his life has been to never overlook or shortchange anybody. In Richardson's folksy words, "I've always tried to put the fodder on the ground so any old goat could get it." That's why Richardson's autobiography, written by Kyle Sowers (who played for Richardson in the 1970s) is titled Fodder on the Ground.
Richardson's greatest coaching achievement was leading Madison Central baseball to an undefeated (40-0) state title in 1982. In his 35-year career, his teams won 952 games, making him the fourth-winningest coach in state history. In two stints as Madison Central's basketball coach, he led the Indians to 287 wins in 17 years, including the school's first region title in 1987.
His autobiography covers a wide range of subjects, from his personal story to baseball fundamentals to former players reminiscing about him. Richardson said winning wasn't easy at Madison Central. "For us to ever go any place, we usually had to beat two or three Lexington teams. If you don't think that's tough, get yourself a team and put it in the 11th Region, and you'll find out."
Richardson and Sowers will launch the book at Central Bank in downtown Richmond from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Wednesday. Those interested in the book also may call Sowers (859) 358-2819.
■ Devin Hairston (Tates Creek) and Lincoln Henzman (LCA) are contributing as freshman at Louisville. Hairston, who was co-Mr. Baseball last year, is starting at second base. He's batting .245 with 25 RBI and 14 runs. Henzman, a hard-throwing righthander who had Tommy John surgery in his junior year at LCA, has made 11 appearances for the Cardinals. He's 3-0 with a 2.13 earned run average. He has 23 strikeouts in 25.1 innings.
■ Jeremy Howell was a sharp-shooting junior guard for Ashland Blazer the last time the Tomcats made it to the Sweet Sixteen. That was in 2002. Thirteen years later, Howell is Ashland's new boys' basketball coach. He was an assistant to Buddy Biggs the past five seasons. Biggs was fired after the Tomcats went 5-27 this year. Howell, 29, said he's thankful the Ashland administration is "giving a hometown guy the opportunity to lead this program. I know the responsibility that comes with it." Ashland is the state's all-time winningest program with 1,923 victories. It has the most wins, 48, in state tournament history. It has four state titles (1928, '33, '34, '61). "Going forward, it's all about the history," Howell said. "I want these kids to learn why, when they walk in the gym, one of our walls is covered in district championships, region championships and state tournament appearances." Howell is also reaching out to all former Tomcat players. "I'm openly inviting them to come to any open gym, practices and games. They're always welcome. I want them to know they're still part of this program."
■ Knott County Central's Evan Hall, an IUPUI signee, had 17 points and earned MVP honors as Kentucky beat Ohio 105-76 in their 24th annual all-star game on Saturday. Camron Justice, Hall's Knott Central teammate and Mr. Basketball, had eight points. Terrell Gray of Doss led Kentucky with 21 points. Kentucky's girls lost to Ohio 90-80. Alexis Robinson of Ashland Blazer had 15 points and was Kentucky's MVP. UK signee Morgan Rich of Allen County-Scottsville had 10 points, and UK signee and Miss Basketball Maci Morris of Bell County had six points.
■ The Herald-Leader girls' all-state basketball team in Sunday's paper should have included Kes Murphy of Covington Holy Cross as coach of the year. Holy Cross upset No. 1 Elizabethtown on its way to the Sweet Sixteen title. The Indians also won the Touchstone Energy All "A" Classic. They finished the season 33-3 and on a 22-game winning streak.
■ Sweet Sixteen MVP Justin Miller of state champion Owensboro is going to Coppin State in Baltimore. Former Henry Clay star Jordan Green transferred to Coppin State from Western Kentucky this year.
■ Ballard star Jalen Perry, who averaged 21 points and led the Bruins to the Sweet Sixteen quarterfinals, has commited to Middle Tennessee State.
■ Skyler Hunter, who helped Calloway County reach the Sweet Sixteen quarterfinals, will play college hoops at Bellarmine. The 6-7 senior averaged 11 points and eight rebounds this season.
■ Glasgow has hired James Willett as its boys' basketball coach. He had a 79-98 record in six years at Allen County-Scottsville.
■ Duke redshirt freshman Rebecca Greenwell (Owensboro Catholic) averaged 14 points and 5.5 rebounds this season. Her 72 three-pointers were an Atlantic Coast Conference record for a freshman.
■ Johnson Central linebacker/lineman Patrick Rice signed to play football at Morehead State. Rice also played on the Golden Eagles' Sweet Sixteen basketball team.
■ Thirty years ago Friday — April 17, 1985 — Vanderbilt basketball coach C.M. Newton came to town to sign 6-8 Lexington Catholic senior Frank Kornet, who a few weeks earlier had helped the Knights win the 11th Region. This past season Kornet's son Luke, a 7-foot sophomore, averaged 8.7 points for Vandy.
■ Vanderbilt senior Hunter Stewart (Lexington Christian) is rated the fourth-best college golfer in the nation going into this weekend's SEC championships at Sea Island, Ga. Stewart has won three tournaments this school year and leads Vandy with a 69.52 stroke average.
■ Sherrill Smith, boys' soccer coach at Frankfort for 30 years, is the new women's coach at Midway College.
■ Gordon Bocock will be inducted into the National High School Athletic Coaches Association Hall of Fame in June in recognition of his involvement in track and cross country. Bocock was a long-time coach at Pulaski County, and he's directed the state cross county meet for 35 years and the state track meet for 30 years. He was inducted in the Dawahares/KHSAA Hall of Fame in 2005.