High School Sports

High school notebook: Public schools edge private for most championships

Ben Davis
Ben Davis

Before logging off and shutting down the high school notebook for summer vacation, some last bits of business:

■ When Central Hardin pitcher Dylan Shoffner got a strikeout to finish off the Bruins' 21-2 victory over Mercer County for the state baseball title last Saturday around 9 p.m., the nine-month high school sports year officially came to a close.

The Kentucky High School Athletic Association crowned 32 team champions in 12 sports. Public schools won 17 of those titles; private schools won 15. Louisville schools took home 10 big trophies and northern Kentucky schools collected six to lead the parade of champions.

■ Ryle was the only school in the state that won at least 10 games in football, and at least 20 in baseball, softball, and boys' and girls' basketball. The Raiders were most successful in football (12-2), making it to the Class 6A semifinals before losing to eventual state champ Trinity, and softball (32-10), reaching the quarterfinals of the state tournament.

■ State champ Central Hardin was No. 47 in Powerade's Fab 50 final national baseball ratings of the year.

■ Final totals from the 15-game state baseball tournament last week: 182 runs on 241 hits and eight errors. Pitchers recorded 184 strikeouts and walked or hit 143 batters.

■ Central Hardin's victory over Mercer County was the first time the 5th and 12th regions had met in the state title game since Elizabethtown beat Somerset to win the 1975 championship.

■ When the Reno Aces played the Tacoma Rainiers in Triple-A minor-league baseball a few weeks ago, three Kentucky Mr. Baseball winners from Lexington were involved: Reno's Josh Ellis (Paul Laurence Dunbar, 2003) and Collin Cowgill (Henry Clay, 2004), and Tacoma's Chaz Roe (Lafayette, 2005).

■ Manual was an offensive machine in high school baseball in the 1940s. According to Cynthiana radio man Jim Swinford, who compiles state baseball records, Manual owns three of the top five spots for most runs in a state tournament game. It humbled Heath 25-1 in the 1947 quarterfinals, bashed Brownsville 23-2 in the 1941 semifinals, and ripped Heath 20-1 in the 1948 quarterfinals.

■ Wolfe County sophomore catcher Dylan Creech was one of three Kentuckians named Louisville Slugger high school All-Americans. Creech hit .593 with nine homers and 54 RBI this season. He already has 201 hits and 219 RBI in his career. Lawrence County senior Chandler Shepherd, who had 40 career pitching victories, and Warren East's Mark Biggs, who was named Mr. Baseball, were also Louisville Slugger All-Americans. Butler senior shortstop Zach Lucas earned honorable mention.

■ Nice gesture by the 10th Region baseball coaches who voted Mike Murphy coach of the year. Mr. Murphy, long-time baseball boss at Mason County, died in February.

■ Wondering how the all-state teams and Mr. Baseball were selected by the Kentucky High School Baseball Coaches Association? Eastern Coach John Morris said each of the 16 regions has a representative, and each nominated at least three players. (All Division I signees are automatically included. If a region had more than three D-I players, it could submit a fourth.) A KHSBCA committee could add players who might have been overlooked. The committee voted for first- and second-team all-state. Everybody nominated by region reps earned at least honorable mention. Region reps KHSBCA officers and all-state committee members cast more than 20 votes for Mr. Baseball. Mark Biggs of Warren East won that vote, with Chandler Shepherd of Lawrence County runner-up.

■ Jim McAlister of the Corbin News Journal shared this tidbit: Christian County's Griffin Joiner, Miss Softball, and Warren East's Mark Biggs, Mr. Baseball, both hit grand slams in their respective East-West all-star games.

■ Corbin's Calli Hendrickson had a big senior year in softball. She hit .420, set single-season school records for hits (50), doubles (13), RBI (36) and slugging (.634), and career marks for hits (158), RBI (100), homers (10), doubles (33), runs (93) and slugging (.570). She is undecided on where she'll play college softball.

■ Jim Conway resigned as North Laurel's boys' basketball coach. He had an overall record of 86-97 in six years.

■ To correct an item in last week's notebook: Wade Skaggs of Johnson Central and Jarod Ravenscraft of Bath County signed to play basketball at Kentucky Christian.

■ Two-time state high school golf champ Emma Talley was the repeat winner of the American Junior Golf Association tournament in Ashland at Bellefonte Country Club. Talley, a senior-to-be at Caldwell County who's committed to Alabama, shot a 3-over par 213 to win her eighth AJGA title.

■ Sayre junior-to-be Ben Davis will play in the Nature Valley First Tee Open at Pebble Beach on July 8-10. Davis is the latest First Tee of Lexington junior golfer to be chosen to play in the Champions Tour pro-am event, following Will Bishop and Daniel DeLuca who teed it up at Pebble Beach and Del Monte last summer. "I was real excited when I found out I got to go," Davis said. "It's going to be pretty amazing, an awesome experience." The First Tee Open will pair 78 juniors from across the nation with 78 Champions Tour pros. Davis, 16, has been competing on the local Larry Gilbert summer tour since he was 8. Making the trip to California with Ben will be his parents, Scott and Susan Davis, and a former coach, Greg Slaughter, who will caddy for him. The tournament will be televised on The Golf Channel.

■ Eastern Kentucky University football coaching legend Roy Kidd had a hole-in-one during the annual KHSAA Hall of Fame golf outing Wednesday. Kidd, 80, got the first ace of his life on the par-3 fourth hole at Griffin Gate Resort. Kidd was playing with Bob, John and Joe Roberts of Richmond. KHSAA commissioner Julian Tackett, who witnessed the hole-in-one, said it was a "pretty cool moment. I haven't seen (Kidd) celebrate like that since he beat WKU."

■ High school football's 2011 season kicks off in eight weeks. Opening games for city teams: On Aug. 19, Bryan Station is home against Anderson County; Lafayette faces host Mason County in the Meadowview Regional Kickoff Classic; Lexington Catholic visits Bell County; Lexington Christian travels to Christian Academy of Louisville; and Tates Creek takes on host East Jessamine in the visitnich.com Bowl. On Aug. 20, Henry Clay plays John Hardin in the Don Franklin Bowl at Lindsey Wilson. On Aug. 27, Paul Laurence Dunbar opens against Harlan County in the iHigh Football Frenzy at Lafayette.

■ Highlands senior-to-be wide receiver Austin Sheehan will walk on at UK as part of the class of 2012. Highlands quarterback Patrick Towles has already committed to the Cats. The 5-11 Sheehan ran track instead of playing baseball this spring, and after competing in the 100 meters only a handful of times he was clocked in 11.38 in the state meet.

■ Austin Colliver of Montgomery County will play tennis at Campbellsville University. He won the 10th Region title in 2009 and earned a varsity letter at Bourbon County as a third-grader.

■ Chris Gaither is the new boys' basketball coach at Collins, replacing Curtis Turley who left after one season. Gaither, an assistant under Turley, was an all-stater at Grayson County (Class of 2002). He went to Temple but transferred to Georgetown College after his freshman year.

■ Ryle basketball star Jenna Crittendon has committed to Xavier. The 5-10 senior-to-be averaged 13 points, nine rebounds last season.

■ Clinton County girls' basketball coach Carter Adams is leaving the Bulldogs to become an assistant at Georgetown College.

■ Former Louisville Christian and Vanderbilt star Merideth Marsh was named an assistant coach for the women's basketball team at High Point.