High school baseball coaches wear many caps

The wide world of high school sports as seen from under an umbrella:

■ High school baseball and softball coaches wear more hats (or caps) than their peers in other sports. Besides normal coaching duties, they also must be weather guessers, radar watchers, schedule re-arrangers, foul-ball retrievers, umpire payers, umpire critics, agronomists, diamond cutters, tarp haulers, mud rakers, purchasing agents, fund-raisers, statisticians and diplomats (explaining to parents why Johnny or Janie isn't playing much).

■ It was amazing how quickly word spread about Scott County boys' basketball coach Billy Hicks' trip to Knott County Central on Tuesday, and how everybody assumed Hicks was leaving Georgetown for Hindman. I don't know the behind-the-scenes politics of Scott County schools, but it's hard to believe Hicks would skip out on a talent-rich team that should give him a shot at a third state title with the Cardinals next season.

■ Mason County football coach David Buchanan was a Phi Beta Kappa scholar at Centre College in Danville, so he's plenty sharp enough to recognize a bargain. The Maysville Ledger Independent reported that Buchanan attended an auction at the University of Kentucky and spent $3,650 on athletic equipment worth more than $20,000. Among Buchanan's purchases: 48 new sets of Nike cleats for $20 each (retail: $100 each); 34 pairs of slightly used Riddell shoulder pads for $50 each (retail: $300 each). He also helped Mason County's baseball program by buying 70 pairs of Nike baseball pants for $50 (retail: $4,000).

■ Bourbon County's baseball team is 18-2, its best start in school history. "Now we want to have the best finish in school history," Coach Nelson Faris said. The Colonels have a team batting average of .360 and team ERA of 1.60. Senior third baseman Mack Manning, whom Faris considers a Division I prospect, is hitting .469. Outfielders Andy Dutton and Keenan Freitag are also hitting over .400. Sophomores Tyler Clark and Chris Norman are having big years at the plate, along with Eli Covington and John Jacoby. Junior Seth Robinson and senior Bryan Rupard have anchored the pitching staff.

■ Wolfe County eighth-grader Dylan Creech is hitting .604 with 26 RBI and 20 runs. He also has a 4-2 pitching record, with 47 strikeouts in 31 innings. When he's not on the mound, he's a catcher.

■ When Lexington Christian Academy won the Touchstone Energy All "A" Classic last weekend, Coach Keith Galloway said it was the Eagles' first small-school state baseball title. To clarify, Galloway said LCA put on an event it called the All "A" in 2002 and '03 and won it both years. But the real All "A" organization didn't begin sponsoring a statewide baseball competition until 2004.

■ Campbell County senior Joe Rief pitched a perfect five-inning game in a 14-0 win over Calvary Christian. Rief is 4-0 with a 1.88 ERA.

■ Ashland is having a reunion of its 1965-69 baseball teams that won three state titles (1966-68), lost 1-0 in the semifinals in '65 and 1-0 in the finals in '69. The Tomcats were 107-11 in those five seasons, including a 25-0 mark in '66. Bob Lynch, a pitcher on the championship teams, is spreading the word to former players about the reunion, which will be May 15 at 6:30 p.m., before Ashland Blazer's game against Morgan County.

■ Lafayette will host a baseball family reunion potluck dinner at 6:30 p.m. May 13. Call Coach Chris Langston, (859) 381-3474.

■ K.C. Massie, who graduated from Lexington Catholic in 2005 and then spent two years doing missionary work, had a standout sophomore year pitching for Georgetown College. Massie was 8-1 with a 3.61 ERA and 49 strikeouts in 63 innings. He was all-conference on the mound and in the classroom (3.4 GPA).

■ In only its second year, Asbury College's baseball team qualified for the National Christian College Athletic Association's regional playoffs in Bluefield, Va. Coach Bob Silvanik's home-grown players include the only two seniors on the roster — Slade Halvaksz (Dunbar) and Luke Temple (West Jessamine) — along with KIAC player of the year runner-up Zach Monroe (LCA), pitcher of the year Greg Bowling (Boyd County), and all-conference players Gardner Adams (Lafayette), Mark Deetsch (Louisville Christian), Travis Martin (Henry County) and Dan Olszowy (Bryan Station).

■ Tates Creek grad John-Michael Crawford, a junior shortstop at Savannah School of Art & Design, hit .322 and led the team in stolen bases in the regular season.

■ South Laurel's softball team beat Whitley County to notch the program's 400th victory. Coach Kaye Smith's Lady Cardinals are 24-7.

■ Lexington Christian quarterback Lucas Witt is one of only three Kentucky juniors nominated to play in the 10th Army All-American Bowl in January. He joins Highlands receiver Austin Collinsworth and Central linebacker Tim Patterson among 400 nominees nationwide. Ninety players will eventually be selected for the all-star game.

■ Breathitt County running back Channing Fugate, a 6-2, 225-pound junior who rushed for 3,052 yards and 36 TDs for the Class 3A state runners-up, has college offers from Illinois, Louisville, Purdue, Stanford and Troy State. Bobcats Coach Mike Holcomb said UK is also interested.

■ When Tom Larkey's Harlan County Black Bears play Chris Larkey's North Laurel Jaguars in football this fall, it won't be the first father-versus-son coaching showdown. In August 1992, Bill Dixon's M.C. Napier Navajos played his son Maurice Dixon's Knott County Patriots. It was billed as the Father-Son Bowl. Knott County won 32-6.

■ Harrison County has hired East Jessamine assistant Mark Carroll as its new football coach.

■ Brian Kelly is returning home as Fleming County boys' basketball coach. Kelly is the son of former Panthers coach Lake Kelly, who died two months ago. Brian was born in Fleming County, played high school ball at Clark County and college ball at Morehead State. He has coached at Centennial High in Franklin, Tenn, since 1996. Brad Fraser wasn't rehired as Fleming County coach after posting a 29-53 record the last three years.

■ Pulaski County has hired Al Gover for a second stint as its boys' basketball coach. Gover coached the Maroons for five years before resigning after 2001 season.

■ Former Allen Central coach Johnny Martin, who has more than 500 career wins, is the new boys' coach at Pike County Central.

■ James David Strange, a 2,000-point scorer who led Pineville to back-to-back All "A" 13th Region titles, and Franklin County's Barrett Meyer, who averaged 14.5 points this season, signed with Transylvania.

■ North Laurel standout Josh Seidel will play basketball at Embry-Riddle University in Daytona Beach, Fla.

■ Ashley Lucas, Erin Lucas and Lauren Mitchell, who helped comprise the winningest senior class in Dunbar's girls' basketball history with a 91-24 record, all signed with Midway College.

■ Lexington Catholic's Maggie Wilson will play college hoops at Jacksonville University. Three of her siblings also played at Lexington Catholic and earned Division I scholarships: Yvonne (Georgia Tech), Rita (Evansville) and Ben (New Orleans). Another sibling, Tavie, played as an eighth-grader for the Lady Knights this season.

■ Tates Creek's Kyleigh Kreyenbuhl will play basketball and golf at St. Catharine, and Betsy Goodin will walk on and play hoops at Bellarmine.

■ Jordan Hickman, who led Bardstown to the Sweet Sixteen as a junior, signed with Southeastern Illinois. Muhlenberg County native Todd Franklin coaches SIC, which explains why he recruits so many Kentucky players. Two SIC products signed with Division I schools this year: Holmes' Austin Hill with Illinois State and Warren Central's Monie Hudson with Evansville.

■ Former Jeffersontown basketball star Nick Gagel is transferring from Florida Atlantic to Tusculum College in Greeneville.

■ Chris Dowe, who led Eastern to the Sweet Sixteen, signed with Bellarmine.

■ Aaron Cosby is switching schools again. After playing at Manual and Jeffersontown, the 6-2 senior-to-be told The Courier-Journal that he's going to Northfield Mount Hermon, a prep school in Massachusetts, where he said he will play two years.

■ Tia Gibbs, a Butler grad and Kentucky's Miss Basketball in 2008, is transferring from Vanderbilt to Louisville.

■ Lexington Catholic will hold a fund-raiser at Comedy Off Broadway on May 21 for Kyle Cannon, an Ohio high school hockey player who was paralyzed in a game against the Knights last fall. Tickets are $15 and must be purchased through Lexington Catholic between May 19 and 21. The school is also accepting donations for Cannon.