High School Baseball

High school notebook: Baseball pitching has been great this spring

Spring has sprung, but baseballs aren't springing off bats this spring. It has nothing to do with the new rules that reduced the trampoline effect in aluminum bats. It has everything to do with terrific pitching.

In the past three games I've seen, pitchers have had a combined 74 strikeouts. That's a whole bunch of K's, sports fans. It's impossible to tell if a bat doesn't have bounce if guys are swinging and missing so often.

■ Bowling Green hasn't had trouble hitting the ball, which is one reason Dan Mosier's fourth-rated Purples (14-0) are the last unbeaten team in the state. They boast a .323 team batting average. Bowling Green lost in the 2009 region finals with six freshmen in the lineup. Those players are seniors now. Sam Wilson (.458), Scooter Hollis (.359) and Ben Morrison (.328 ) lead the offense. The pitching staff has a 1.68 earned run average, led by Jackson Sowell (3.0, 0.83) and Derick Broack (5-0, 1.19). Bowling Green's schedule includes trips to the Louisville Invitational Tournament next weekend, and the Fayette County Invitational Tournament in May.

■ Covington Catholic's Ben Maile, brother of UK catcher and 2009 Mr. Baseball Luke Maile, has helped the No. 14 Colonels to a 15-1 record this spring. Ben is batting over .400 with 18 RBI. On the mound, the senior left-hander is 3-0 with a 1.31 ERA. He was 9-1 with a 2.46 ERA last season.

■ Ashland Blazer ace Sam Hunter had 17 strikeouts in a 1-0 win over Boyd County. Lions ace Trey Salisbury had 12 K's. Each pitcher allowed four hits.

■ Lexington Catholic hosts four-time defending Tennessee state baseball champ and perennial national power Farragut this weekend. They play Friday night at 8 p.m. and Saturday at noon. Both games will be streamed live on perfectgame.org and ihigh.com. Former UK coach Keith Madison will do color commentary. Lexington Catholic is 18-3 and rated No. 2 in the state. Farragut (22-5) is led by senior shortstop/pitcher A.J. Simcox, a Tennessee signee.

■ Nicholas County's softball team is 14-0 after winning the All "A" Classic 10th Region title this week. Coach Barry Bretz's Bluejackets beat host Bishop Brossart in the semifinals on Monday, and Bracken County on the road in the finals on Tuesday. The team was escorted back into Carlisle by police cars and fire trucks Tuesday night. Nicholas County is led by seniors Emily Curran, who pitched 23 innings on Monday and Tuesday; McKensie Hopkins and Jania Wagoner. The All "A" state tournament is April 28-29 in Owensboro.

■ Danville pitcher Rob Caudill, who signed with Davidson last week, had a career-high 17 strikeouts in a 4-1 win over rival Boyle County this week. He has 77 K's in 37 innings this year.

■ Mat Honchel, a standout on Mercer County's state runner-up baseball team last year, is having an impressive freshman season at Miami University. He leads the Redhawks with a .393 average. He has 31 runs and 16 RBI.

■ Pairings for the state baseball and fast-pitch softball tournaments will be drawn on Friday. State baseball is June 4-9 at Whitaker Bank Ballpark in Lexington. State softball is June 7-9 at Jack Fisher Park in Owensboro.

■ The KHSAA will start the process of realigning basketball this summer. Commissioner Julian Tackett expects the Board of Control to have a proposal ready by November, and it would be finalized in January. That would give schools time to schedule for the 2013-14 season. Tackett said realignment could have its most drastic effect in far western Kentucky where consolidation will reduce the number of 1st Region schools to 13.

■ High school basketball will have a mercy rule next season — a running clock once there is a 35-point margin in the second half. Nobody had more experience with lopsided games this past season than Manual's girls, who had at least 18 games in which they led or won by at least 35 points.

■ It was ironic that two days after former Ashland basketball coach Bob Wright died, the KHSAA's Board of Control and the basketball advisory committee met to discuss how the high school game might return to being a less physical sport. Mr. Wright's 1961 Tomcats were the epitome of what old-schoolers loved about basketball. Great passing, great shooting, great teamwork. Finesse rather than muscle.

■ The Henderson Gleaner reported that Henderson County has fired boys' basketball coach Mark Starns, who had a 99-45 record in five years. Starns is a Lexington Catholic graduate, and the son of former Knights coach Tommy Starns. Mark previously coached at Johnson Central and led the Golden Eagles to the 2006 Sweet Sixteen.

■ The revolving door for high school basketball coaches in Lexington continues to spin with Justin Yeary's decision to step down as boys' coach at Paul Laurence Dunbar. Lexington Christian Academy's boys, Lexington Catholic's girls and Tates Creek's girls will also have new coaches next season. Since 2000, the city schools have had 55 basketball coaches.

■ Jeff Hall is stepping down as boys' basketball coach at Glasgow to become athletics director. Hall, a former Fairview star who started on Louisville's 1986 NCAA title team, had a record of 78-30 in four years with the Scotties. He previously coached at Rose Hill and Ashland Blazer. Among the possible successors to Hall might be former Glasgow star and UK player Brandon Stockton, who was Mr. Basketball in 2002. He was an assistant under Hall.

■ Tryouts for the Kentucky All-Stars boys' and girls' basketball teams are this weekend at Georgetown College. The girls will try out on Saturday and the boys on Sunday. Sessions begin at noon each day and are open to the public. The all-star teams will be announced at a later date.

■ Franklin-Simpson football coach Tim Schlosser and boys' basketball coach Lex Lindsey have resigned. Schlosser, who was 108-59 in 14 seasons including a Class 4A runner-up finish last fall, will be the school's new principal. Lindsey was boys' coach for one season after eight years as the Wildcats girls' coach. Lindsey told the Bowling Green Daily News he had a "shift in priorities" after his dad died last month.

■ Henry Clay senior Charles McCarty, an all-city linebacker, will play college football at Centre.

■ ESPN rated the top 150 high school football players in the Class of 2013. Two Kentuckians made the list. Trinity wide receiver James Quick, who has yet to make his college choice, is No. 59. Apollo offensive lineman Hunter Bivin, who's committed to Notre Dame, is No. 95. The state of Florida had 30 players in ESPN's top 150.

■ Three Henry Clay volleyball players who led the Blue Devils to the state quarterfinals signed with colleges this week: Nicole Jenkins (Kentucky Wesleyan), Jordan Strickland (Tennessee State) and Emily Stromberg (Berry College in Mount Berry, Ga.). Also, Luke Grupe, son of Devils Coach Dale Grupe, signed with Coker College in Hartsville, S.C. Boys' volleyball isn't a KHSAA sanctioned sport, but Luke played in some adult tournaments with his dad, and also with a team out of Jacksonville, Fla.

■ Joe Ruddell, who has been Tates Creek's athletic director for 11 years, will receive the State Award of Merit at the Kentucky High School Athletic Directors Association conference in Louisville on Thursday.

■ Berea soccer standout Ben Lark, who averaged better than one assist a game last fall, signed with the University of the Cumberlands.

■ Former Christian County star Anthony Hickey, Kentucky's Mr. Basketball last year, is staying put at LSU to play for new Tigers coach Johnny Jones. There had been rumors that Hickey might transfer to WKU.