High School Sports

High school notebook: Two baseball teams remain undefeated

UPDATE: Collins' baseball team lost for the first time with a 6-2 loss to Grant County on Thursday night. Wyatt Glass threw a complete game for Grant County, and he was backed by Benjamin Shipp's three-run homer.

Three weeks into April, it's safe to assume that every high school baseball team in Kentucky has had at least one loss, a "W" that turned into an "L" somewhere because of the uncontrollable vagaries of the game.

That safe assumption would be wrong.

Collins (20-0) and Bullitt East (16-0) were still undefeated at mid-week, and neither coach was shocked by his team's perfection so far.

"We've got a lot of great kids who've been together for a while, and they've worked hard," Collins Coach Roy Bailey Jr. said. "They've got all kinds of physical skills and confidence. They've got that required trait of understanding what it takes to win. They can figure it out and get it done."

Austin Perry, a senior right-hander who has signed with Kentucky, is 7-0. Dan Sanders and Zach Wiley are each 5-0. Four players are hitting better than .400 for the No. 7-rated Titans: senior shortstop Logan Bailey (the coach's son), infielders Wiley and Mason Jeffries, and senior outfielder David Decker.

Roy Bailey considers senior Nate Clifton "one of the better center fielders in the state."

Bullitt East Coach Jeff Bowles' take on his No. 16 Chargers' string of victories:

"So far, so good. We've got a good group of seniors, a good supporting cast, and everybody's taken to their roles," he said. "But we've also talked about how we don't want this to be the highlight of our season. It's not how you start, it's how you finish. We could be undefeated and lose the first game in the district. We don't want that."

The Chargers' top pitchers are senior Jonathan Recktenwald and junior Chase Patton. "We've had nine different guys who've thrown, and nobody's pitched badly," Bowles said.

Senior catcher Hunter Wood, who signed with Western Kentucky University, is a switch-hitter who's batted third for three years. Jacob Woodruff is in the leadoff spot and is a standout on defense. "He's the best center fielder in this area code," Bowles said.

■ Three-time defending 5th Region champ Central Hardin, state champ in 2011, is close to being perfect. The No. 3 Bruins are 17-1. Their only loss was 2-1 in extra innings to Russell County ace Tyler Robertson. Central Hardin has a strong arm of its own in senior lefty and Louisville signee Drew Harrington. He was 10-1 last year with 129 strikeouts in 70 innings. He's 4-0 with 58 K's in 28 innings this spring. "He's a big (6-2, 215) strong kid," Coach Todd Thompson said.

The Bruins have another standout in senior Troy Squires. He's batting .500, has been terrific at shortstop, and has also been a lock-down closer.

Thompson isn't about to let his team take winning for granted. "We want to make sure the kids are hungry and don't become complacent," he said.

■ No.12 Lone Oak has won 17 in a row since dropping its season opener to Henderson County. ... No. 4 St. Xavier is also 17-1. Its loss was to Covington Catholic five games into the season. ... No. 14 Lawrence County won its first 14 games before getting drubbed 11-1 by Lewis County.

■ Sayre had a memorable win over district rival Bryan Station this week. Sayre trailed 8-0 after the top of the first, but rallied to win 20-10. Spartans Coach Scott Sutton said his team showed its comeback ability in a district game against Scott County last week. Sayre wiped out an 11-2 deficit and tied the Cardinals 13-13 before losing 17-14. "We're a pretty good hitting team (.386 average), so I thought we could score some runs (against Bryan Station)," Sutton said. The Spartans wound up banging out 15 hits. Senior Ray Brewer went 4-for-5, including a pair of homers, and had seven RBI. Freshman Christian Courtney went the full six innings of the mercy-rule game to get the win. He threw 37 pitches in the first inning, but only 47 over the last five.

■ Lafayette baseball coach Chris Langston notched his 400th career win last week. Langston is in his 15th season with the Generals, whom he guided to a state runner-up finish in 2004. He previously coached at Franklin County.

■ South Laurel's fast-pitch softball win over Lincoln County this week was the 500th in the program's history. South Laurel joins North Laurel, Christian County, Owensboro Catholic, Reidland, Greenwood, Allen County-Scottsville and Clark County in the 500-win club. Hagan Burns threw a two-hitter with nine strikeouts, and Amber Hyde and Chelsea Wemes each had two-run homers to lead South Laurel to its victory over Lincoln County.

■ WKU, led by new coach Bobby Petrino, will hold its spring football game Saturday at 3 p.m. EDT. The Hilltoppers' roster includes linebackers Mike Federspiel (Henry Clay) and Zane Ramey (Lafayette), defensive back Jalen Sleet (Lafayette), running back Keshawn Simpson (Madison Central) and receiver Rico Brown (Madison Southern).

■ Terrence Brooks, a basketball star at Paris in the mid-1980s, is the Greyhounds' new boys' coach. Brooks was the women's coach at Berea College the past four years. Before that he was the girls' coach at Paris for six seasons. Cary Barr (baseball and girls' basketball), Brian Washington (football) and Dwayne Rice (softball) are also Paris alumni who are head coaches at their alma mater.

■ Pikeville's Ray Kasongo won the dunk contest at the Kentucky-Ohio all-stars event at Thomas More College last weekend. UK signee Makayla Epps of Marion County won the girls' one-on-one competition, and Indiana signee Larryn Brooks of Madison Central won the girls' three-point shooting contest.

■ Devonte Grundy, who led Bardstown to All "A" state runner-up finishes the last two years, will play college basketball at Vincennes (Ind.) Junior College. The 6-4 senior averaged 24.5 points and 7.5 rebounds this season and was named to the Kentucky All-Stars.

■ Wayne County is naming its gym and basketball court after longtime coach Rodney Woods, who has led the Cardinals to eight region titles and 562 victories in 27 years. Wayne County was state runner-up in 1989.

Michaela Hunter of Rockcastle County will sign on Friday to play basketball at Eastern Kentucky. The 5-11 guard made the girls' Kentucky All-Stars.

■ It's apparently harder to win the 4th Region than it is to win the NCAA championship. Just ask Chane Behanan. As a high school junior and senior at Bowling Green, Behanan was arguably the best player in the state. But the Purples lost to Warren Central in the region finals both years. Behanan has had better luck at Louisville. He helped the Cardinals to the Final Four last year, and to the NCAA title this year.

■ When Louisville walk-on Tim Henderson hit back-to-back three-pointers to help the Cardinals rally past Wichita State in the national semifinals, he was just doing what he did at Louisville Christian. Henderson made 60 three-pointers while averaging 17 points in his last two high school seasons.

■ Scott County grad Wyatt Ubellacker, a 6-foot-6 senior swimmer at MIT, was in Sports Illustrated's Faces in the Crowd feature two weeks ago. Ubellacker won three NCAA Division III national titles (50 freestyle, 100 butterfly and the butterfly leg in the 200 medley relay). He broke a 13-year-old national record in the 100 fly (47.34 seconds). Overall, Ubellacker set seven MIT records in the competition and was named Swimmer of the Year by the College Swim Coaches Association of America.

■ Woodford County junior Nathan Boston, undefeated state wrestling champ at 113 pounds, won a national folkstyle title at that weight two weeks ago in Indiana, Pa. Union County's Trae Blackwell, state champ at 120, won a national folkstyle title at 126. Union County's Brock Ervin, state champ at 126 pounds, was national champ at that weight in the National High School Coaches Association junior nationals in Virginia Beach, Va.

■ Elizabethtown High School's Athletic Hall of Fame will induct its inaugural class on Saturday. The 15 honorees include Bill Ransdell Sr. (1958) and Bill Ransdell Jr. (1982), both of whom went on to play football at UK. The Hall of Famers also include multi-sport star Ernie Lewis (1971) and football coach Vince Hancock (1967-77).

■ Pat Summerall died this week at age 82. Mr. Summerall and Tom Brookshier were regarded as TV's best NFL announcing team for CBS in the mid-1970s. I was lucky enough to play golf with Mr. Summerall in 1975. I was working for a newspaper in Lake City, Fla., his hometown, when he returned for a charity golf tournament. Mr. Summerall spent more time telling NFL stories than he did worrying about golf, and that was fine with me.

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