High School Sports

Mike Fields' notebook: 'Resilient' Lafayette softball team off to best start ever

Lafayette's first-year softball coach Shane Weaver and his Generals were up late Wednesday night, sweeping city rivals Lexington Catholic and Paul Laurence Dunbar.

Weaver wasn't thrilled about playing what he called the "dreaded district double-header," but he was happy that Lafayette kept a couple of winning streaks alive. The Generals have 42 consecutive victories against city competition over the past four years, and they are off to the best start — 14-0 — in school history.

"The most special thing about these kids is they're eager to show what they can do," Weaver said. "The one word I've used more than any this spring to describe them is 'resilient.' These girls just never quit. They're just so resilient."

Weaver, who previously coached at North Laurel and Christian County, saw Lafayette's tenacity on display on a spring-break trip to Florida, where the team won four games, three of them by one run.

Emily Kincaid, a senior who will play college softball at Eastern Kentucky University, has been a standout on the mound. She pitched 14 innings in Wednesday night's doubleheader sweep. "She's a pretty great kid," Weaver said. "The load's been put on her. She's kept us in a lot of games."

Senior shortstop Brittany Sims, who has signed with Louisville, is a whiz on defense and at the plate. She has five homers, including one that sparked the 5-4 extra-inning comeback win over Lexington Catholic. "She's all of 5-foot-2, but man, the kid can play," Weaver said. "She's exactly the kind of kid you want leading your team."

Freshman outfielder Caroline Perkins has had a big impact, too. She bats cleanup for a reason. She had two homers and five RBI in Wednesday's victories.

Lafayette, rated No. 4 in the state, will put its unbeaten record on the line when it plays host to Ohio teams Lakota West and Chadron on Saturday. But Weaver is not worried about winning streaks. He wants the Generals primed for the post-season when they hope to defend their 11th Region title. "It's how you finish that everybody remembers," he said.

■ Tates Creek is hosting a softball tournament this weekend, and Commodores Coach John Groft is using it as a "teaching tool" for his players. Not about softball, but about life. Magoffin County is one of the teams (along with Bell County, Boyd County and Tates Creek) in the round-robin competition. When Groft called Magoffin County Coach Sanford Holbrook last month to confirm that the Hornets were coming to the tournament, it was just after devastating tornadoes had ravaged the Eastern Kentucky community. Holbrook said Magoffin County's trip to Lexington was in doubt because of strapped finances. But Groft took care of that by telling Holbrook he would waive the Hornets' tournament entry fee and pay for their hotel rooms. Tates Creek's boosters will also hold a couple of raffles during the tournament to raise money for the Hornets' softball program. "The Tates Creek softball family will get so much from this experience," Groft said in an email.

■ West Jessamine's Jody Hamilton has coached in almost 1,200 baseball games over the past 30 years, but he never had one of his teams turn a triple play until his Colts did it against East Jessamine this week. The Jaguars had runners at first and second when West Jessamine third baseman Christian Beckley fielded a soft liner, threw to second baseman Troy Merida to get that runner out. Merida then fired to first baseman Tyler Pasch to complete the triple play. Hamilton said when he was coaching at Boyd County, Ashland Blazer turned a triple play against his Lions twice within a week. West Jessamine also had a grand slam by Michael Oaks in the 6-2 win over East Jessamine as the Colts ran their record to 10-1.

■ Lexington Christian grad Robbie Ross wasn't the only Kentuckian to make his major-league debut Easter Sunday. Ross pitched one inning for the Texas Rangers in a win over the Chicago White Sox on Sunday night. Earlier in that game, Nate Jones, who played for Pendleton County and Northern Kentucky University, saw his first big-league action by working one inning for the White Sox.

■ Danville senior right-hander Rob Caudill will sign with Davidson on Friday. Caudill is 4-1 with a 0.78 earned-run average this season. He was 9-3 with a 1.81 ERA last spring.

■ Bourbon County 6-foot-9 senior lefty Chase Mullins threw a one-hitter and had 17 strikeouts in a 1-0 district win over Montgomery County this week.

■ Pairings for the state baseball and fast-pitch softball tournaments will be drawn on April 20. The state baseball tournament is set for June 4-9 at Whitaker Bank Ballpark in Lexington. The state softball tournament is June 7-9 in Owensboro.

■ Hopkins Central senior shortstop Ashley Flener homered in five consecutive fast-pitch softball games last week. Her streak came to an end against Austin (Ala.), but she did collect her 200th career hit in that game.

■ Bracken County sophomore Emma Conley threw two no-hitters (against Warren Central and Bishop Brossart) in a span of three games. The Polar Bears' win over Warren Central gave Chad Persinger his 200th career victory in his 12th season as coach.

■ Indiana's Mr. Basketball is Gary Harris, a 6-4 Michigan State signee who averaged 25 points and eight rebounds for Hamilton Southeastern this season. Harris will lead a talented group of Indiana All-Stars against Kentucky on June 8 in Louisville's Freedom Hall and June 9 in Indianapolis' Bankers Life Fieldhouse. The Hoosier all-stars also include Yogi Ferrell, Jeremy Howell and Rob Patterson (all Indiana signees); Austin Burgett and Patrick Ingram (Notre Dame), Kellen Dunham (Butler), Ronnie Johnson (Purdue) and Glenn Robinson III (Michigan).

■ Kentucky's Mr. and Miss Basketball will be announced in a Heisman Trophy-style ceremony on April 28 at the Seelbach Hotel in Louisville. Tickets to the banquet are $40. For information, call Dave Satterly (502) 741-0060. Mr. Basketball finalists are Matt Day of Buckhorn, Nathan Dieudonne of Trinity, Tamron Manning of Scott County, Mekale McKay of Moore and Adam Wing of Rowan County. Miss Basketball finalists are Jeanna Crittendon of Ryle, Sydney Moss of Boone County, Kendall Noble of Perry Central, Jasmine Whitfield of South Oldham and April Wilson of Manual.

■ Mekale McKay, a two-sport star at Moore, signed to play football at Arkansas. Will Bobby Petrino's dismissal as Razorbacks coach affect McKay's future? Moore basketball coach Shedrick Jones said McKay told him that he'll wait to see who Arkansas names as coach "before exploring other options." Mississippi was McKay's second choice.

■ Morgan County's Jagos Lasic had 20 points and 10 rebounds to lead Kentucky past Virginia 121-76 in an all-star basketball game at Shelby Valley. Andrew Roberts of Betsy Layne had 18 points. Kentucky's girls lost to Virginia 74-54. Keslie Jacobs of Knott Central had 16 points.

■ Nathan Dieudonne, who led Trinity to the Sweet Sixteen title, had 26 points but it wasn't enough as a group of Kentucky all-stars lost to Ohio 116-103 at Thomas More College last weekend. Jaysean Paige of Perry Central had 12 points. Kentucky's girls beat Ohio 71-66. They were led by South Oldham's Jasmine Whitfield's 13 points.

■ Bryan Station is accepting applications for football coach until the end of April. In the meantime, Frank Parks, assistant head coach to Craig Yeast last season, is organizing spring practice, which will begin on April 23. Yeast left the Defenders to become wide receivers coach at Tiffin University in Ohio.

■ Michael Bailey, a defensive back who led Bowling Green's unbeaten Class 5A championship football team in tackles, signed with Lindsey Wilson.

■ Headley VanMeter of Sayre will sign next week to play lacrosse at Birmingham Southern.

■ Tickets to New York Jets quarterback Tim Tebow's appearance at Graves County on April 20 are available, priced from $24 to $100. Tickets can be purchased by calling (270) 674-4884 or 328-4884.

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