Calling in the closer to finish up the last notebook of the high school sports year:
■ A young man in a military uniform was milling among the Pleasure Ridge Park baseball players and coaches as they celebrated their state championship at Whitaker Bank Ballpark on Saturday night. I noticed him but didn't recognize him.
The next day I learned it was Lance Corporal Chris Burk, and that he had been awarded a game ball by PRP. "It was sort of redemtpion for him that we won," Panthers Coach Bill Miller said.
Burk played right field for PRP in the 2011 state tournament, and it was his error in the bottom of the seventh in the semifinals that ultimately allowed Mercer County's 5-4 comeback victory.
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Miller knew how one play could haunt a player. Miller recalled PRP pitcher Brent Lynch's error-filled nightmare performance in the 1993 finals when the Panthers lost 6-0 to Harrison County. "It was a psychological thing that Brent said he didn't get over until his sophomore year in college," Miller said. "So it was good that we could do this for Chris."
■ PRP's five state baseball titles are second only to the six each won by Manual and Owensboro.
■ Maybe it was Henderson County's seven-error fiasco in the semifinals against Mercer County that made me think that last week's tournament was the sloppiest, in terms of fielding, that'd I'd seen in awhile. It wasn't. There were 49 errors in 15 games last week, compared to 47 in the 2012 tournament, 52 in 2011 and 63 in 2010.
■ Let's talk offense. Last week's state tournament featured 94 runs on 164 hits. That compares to 95 runs and 153 hits last year; 182 runs and 241 hits in 2011, and 127 runs and 206 hits in 2010. The tougher restrictions on aluminum bats are making pitchers that much more dominant. Not saying that's a bad thing.
■ Mercer County's fans turned out in big numbers, but last week's total attendance of 22,140 was a decrease from previous years. It was 22,875 in 2012, 23,726 in 2011 and 25,779 in 2010.
■ Harrison County radio man and state baseball tournament historian Jim Swinford gleaned these nuggest from last week's games at Whitaker Bank Ballpark: Henderson County's Kaleb Duckworth's six stolen bases tied a tournament record set by Jack Logsdon of Somerset in 1974. As a team, Henderson County stole 15 bases, the most since Somerset's 16 in 1974 ... When PRP scored 10 times in the third inning against Central Hardin in the semifinals, it was only the fifth time in tournament history a team scored 10 or more runs in one inning. The previous time was in the 2011 title game when Central Hardin scored 14 in the fourth inning in its 21-2 rout of Mercer County ... PRP totaled 33 hits in four games, the second most in tournament history behind Central Hardin's 46 in 2011.
■ Troy Squires started at shortstop for Central Hardin in four consecutive state tournaments. He played in eight games, and went 13-for-28 (.464) with 12 runs and five RBI. He had three hits, three runs and three RBI in the Bruins' 2011 state finals' win over Mercer County.
■ Trevor Gott (Tates Creek, UK) has signed with the San Diego Padres after being taken in the sixth round of last week's draft. Gott had a 4-1 record, 12 saves and a 1.20 earned run average for UK this season.
■ Greenwood went 44-0 to become the state's first unbeaten fast-pitch softball champ. Marion County went 39-0 to become the first unbeaten girls' basketball champ in 29 years. To post a perfect record in either sport is remarkable, but to do it in such overwhelming fashion as Greenwood and Marion County did is stunning. Greenwood outscored its opponents 378 runs to 24, including 26 shutouts. Marion County's average margin of victory was 71 to 38. Let's don't bother debating who was the more dominant champ. Let's call it a tie, and issue a challenge to the guys. There hasn't been an undefeated boys' basketball champ since 1948, or an undefeated baseball champ since 1982.
■ Greenwood pitcher Elizabeth Moss had four complete games, and worked one inning of another, in the state tournament. In 29 innings she gave up 21 hits, four runs and had 34 strikeouts and only two walks. Her total pitch count was 334. Moss finished the season 31-0, with 222 K's in 182 innings.
■ Public schools won 20 of 36 state championships sponsored by the KHSAA this past school year. (That doesn't include cheer competition that awarded 10 titles in two divisions.) St. Xavier won six titles (football, cross country, soccer, swimming, tennis and wrestling). Newport Central Catholic boasted a small-school triple crown. It won the Class 2A football title, and All "A" titles in boys' basketball and baseball. Russell County and Scott County were the only schools that won at least 10 games in football, and at least 20 in boys' and girls' basketball, baseball and softball.
■ Kentucky and Indiana renew their annual all-star basketball series this weekend. They play in Louisville's Freedom Hall on Friday (girls at 5:30 p.m., followed by the boys), and in Indianapolis' Bankers Life Fieldhouse on Saturday (girls at 5, followed by the boys). Indiana's boys are on a roll. They've swept Kentucky four years in a row for the first time since the series adopted a two-game format in 1953. The Hoosiers have won 16 of the last 17 games. Kentucky will be led by Mr. Basketball and UK signee Dominique Hawkins. Indiana's Mr. Basketball is Zak Irvin, a 6-6 wing player who signed with Michigan. Kentucky's girls are having better luck. They swept Indiana last year, and have won six of the last 10. Kentucky's Miss Basketball is UK signee Makayla Epps of Marion County. The Hoosiers' Miss Basketball is 6-2 Stephanie Mavunga, who signed with North Carolina.
■ Former LaRue County assistant Josh Henderson is the new boys' basketball coach at Meade County.
■ Notre Dame, state runner-up in girls' basketball, has hired Wyatt Foust as its new coach. He'll replaced Nicole Levandusky, who left the Pandas to take over at Cooper. Foust is a former assistant at Kentucky Wesleyan and Western Kentucky.
■ This year's Kentucky High School Basketball Hall of Fame induction ceremony will be held July 20 in Elizabethtown. Tickets can be purchased by calling (270) 234-8354
■ John Hardin senior-to-be Matt Elam, a 6-foot-5, 340-pound lineman, has picked up football scholarship offers from Ohio State and Notre Dame in the last couple weeks, according to the Elizabethtown News-Enterprise. Elam told the paper his top five schools are Alabama, UK, Louisville, Notre Dame and Ohio State.
■ The Northeast Kentucky East-West football senior all-star game is Friday at Morehead State's Jayne Stadium at 7:30 p.m. Seniors from approximately 20 area high schools are scheduled to participate.
■ Longtime Kentucky official Jerry Kimmel will be inducted into the National Federation of State High School Associations' Hall of Fame during its annual meeting in Denver on June 23-27. Kimmel recently retired after 56 years as an official (baseball and basketball) and assignor for the KHSAA. Logan County and Magoffin County will get the Spirit of Sport Award for the friendship between the schools that developed following the tornado that hit Magoffin County in March, 2012.
2012-13 STATE CHAMPIONS
Archery: Trigg County
Baseball: Pleasure Ridge Park
Bass fishing: Calloway County
Basketball: Madison Central (boys); Marion County (girls)
Bowling: Simon Kenton (boys); Taylor County (girls)
Cross Country: St. Xavier (3A boys); North Oldham (2A boys); St. Henry (A boys); Assumption (3A girls); Highlands (2A girls); St. Henry (A girls)
Football: Trinity (6A); Bowling Green (5A); Highlands (4A); Central (3A); Newport Central Catholic (2A); Mayfield (A)
Golf: West Jessamine (boys); Sacred Heart (girls)
Soccer: St. Xavier (boys); Tates Creek (girls)
Swimming: St. Xavier (boys); Sacred Heart (girls)
Tennis: St. Xavier (boys); Sacred Heart (girls)
Track: North Hardin (3A boys); Lexington Catholic (2A boys); Fort Campbell (A boys); North Hardin (3A girls); Central (2A girls); St. Henry (A girls)
Wrestling: St. Xavier