High School Baseball

Pitchers stand out as top-10 baseball teams meet in potential state tournament preview

Lafayette’s Brady Bowling (24) pitches during the Fayette County Invitational Tournament against McCracken County at Lafayette High School in Lexington, Ky., Saturday, May 13, 2017. McCracken County beat Lafayette 1-0.
Lafayette’s Brady Bowling (24) pitches during the Fayette County Invitational Tournament against McCracken County at Lafayette High School in Lexington, Ky., Saturday, May 13, 2017. McCracken County beat Lafayette 1-0. aslitz@herald-leader.com

A potential state-tournament quarterfinals preview turned out to be as good as advertised at Lafayette on Saturday.

McCracken County, No. 3 in the state according to MaxPreps’ latest computer rankings, eked out a 1-0 victory over the No. 6 Generals as part of the Fayette County Invitational Tournament.

Mustangs sophomore Kiael Waldon reached after being hit by a pitch in the top of the sixth inning. He advanced to second on a wild pitch and to third on a fielder’s choice before scoring on a wild pitch to make the difference in the pitchers’ duel.

Luke Seed, a junior, went six innings with 11 strikeouts and four walks for McCracken County. He allowed just one hit — to Kyle Browning leading off for Lafayette in the first inning —and at one point retired 13 straight Generals.

Brady Bowling walked only three Mustangs and struck out four. The Lafayette senior gave up only one hit, also in the first inning. He retired 11 consecutive batters before hitting Waldon to lead off the sixth.

Lafayette Coach Chris Langston didn’t like that McCracken’s only run came across the way it did, “but that’s what happens when you have really good teams playing,” he said.

“Brady pitched really well,” Langston said. “I hate for him to get a loss on one hit.”

Lafayette has played McCracken County three times since the Paducah powerhouse was formed following the consolidation of Heath, Lone Oak and Reidland in the 2013-14 school year. It is 0-3 in those games, one a 2-0 defeat and the other two by one run.

“It’s always a good game when we play ’em,” Langston said. “They’re a class act and so we’re glad that they came up and played us.”

McCracken County has reached the state tournament each season of its existence and is a favorite to once again represent the 1st Region at Whitaker Bank Ballpark next month. It would play the 7th Region winner in the first round before a quarterfinals bout with the first-round winner of a matchup between teams from the 11th and 2nd regions.

No 2nd Region teams are currently ranked in MaxPreps’ top 25; six 11th Region teams are in its top 16.

“We’re just trying to play it as it goes,” said McCracken Coach Geno Miller, whose team reached the state semifinals last season after two first-round exits. “You can’t look too far ahead. … As far as our progression goes in building a program and where we’ve been able to get to with this being our fourth year, it’s been nothing short of phenomenal.

“I think one thing that’s sped up our process is we come over here and play guys from here. We go and play guys from Louisville. There’s no doubt that the baseball is better in these parts of the state.”

Mr. 500

Langston joined rare company earlier this week in picking up his 500th win on Tuesday. He became the 30th head coach in state history to reach that milestone, but he said assistant Scott Boggs deserves as much credit for the feat.

“Scott Boggs has been with me forever,” Langston said. “It’s kind of been our thing. We’ve pushed hard to make this program something important to people and special to people. These kids come out and give us everything.”

Lafayette’s in Langston’s blood. He graduated from the school in 1986 and has taught there since 1995. He was a head coach at Franklin County from 1995-1997 before assuming the reins at his alma mater in 1998.

Those first three years as a head coach made for a lot of driving and some internal turmoil, like when his Flyers met Lafayette in the 1996 region semifinals (the Generals won 7-1). Now in his 23rd season, Langston doesn’t see himself winding down any time soon. Not to pile up more wins (he’s 43 shy of passing Dom Fucci in the all-time rankings among Lexington coaches), but to keep building relationships with and developing character in students on and off the field.

“These kids, we try to do more with them than just baseball,” Langston said. “… We like baseball and we’re gonna teach them how to play, but we’re also gonna teach them how to make good decisions and be good people so that hopefully they can come back with their little kids, and maybe I’ll still be here coaching, and they’ll be ready to be good citizens, too.”

Josh Moore: 859-231-1307, @HLpreps

McCracken County 1, Lafayette 0

McCracken Co.

0

0

0

0

0

1

0

1

Lafayette

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

Seed, Vinyard (7) and Dodd; Bowling and M. Guilfoil. W—Seed. L—Bowling. S—Vinyard.

Records: McCracken County 22-5, Lafayette 17-7.

  Comments