It was 25 years ago this week that Lafayette junior left-hander Jed Dorough led the Generals to their first state baseball championship by pitching seven innings in a 5-2 semifinal victory over St. Xavier, and coming back 15 hours later to start the finals and go four innings in a 12-1 win over Boyd County.
After that title game, Boyd County Coach Jody Hamilton told the Herald-Leader he wouldn't have risked hurting a young player's arm by letting him pitch that many innings on consecutive days.
How Lafayette Coach Steve Chandler handled Dorough was nothing out of the ordinary in those days. The three previous state champions also used the same pitcher in the semifinals and finals. Owensboro did it with Glenn Stroud in 1987; Tates Creek with Kevin Jarvis in 1986, and Owensboro Catholic with Mike Pippin in 1985.
But Hamilton thought it was time for things to change, time for the KHSAA to establish guidelines that would require rest for pitchers between outings.
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KHSAA assistant commissioner Louis Stout, who oversaw baseball at the time, agreed, and told Hamilton to come up with some rules. Hamilton got together with Don Hardin of Morehead, a veteran umpire and coach, and they developed guidelines. "The key was not the number of pitches; it was the rest," Hamilton said.
The rules Hamilton and Hardin came up with are pretty much what is in the KHSAA handbook today. If a pitcher works seven or more innings, he has to have three days of rest; six innings, two days of rest; three-to-five innings, one day of rest. It took a year to get everything finalized, and the KHSAA put the rules into effect for the 1990 baseball season.
"Overall, I think it's really helped high school baseball in Kentucky," Hamilton said last week. "Coaches went to work to develop entire teams and pitching staffs. You see a lot more guys now who can really pitch, and kids have more time to grow into their bodies."
Some people refer to the pitching restrictions as the Jed Dorough Rule. How does Dorough feel about having guidelines named after him?
"It's kind of neat," he said.
Dorough was more an off-speed pitcher than a power pitcher. "I never threw the ball hard enough to break glass," he said. But he admitting to throwing curveballs "way too early. When I was 9 or 10 in Little League."
Dorough endorses the rules he unwittingly and indirectly created. "It's best to be on the side of caution," he said. "It's best to take it easy on young kids' arms."
That includes his own son Jake, a 5-year-old lefty who's already into baseball. "I'll probably be real strict on him," Dorough said.
■ Prestonsburg's appearance in the state baseball tournament this week brought back memories of the Blackcats' 1948 state title for Henry Mayo, who was on that championship team. Mayo noted Prestonsburg also made it to the state tournament the previous three years. It lost to Richmond Madison in the 1945 quarterfinals, to Fort Knox in the 1946 quarterfinals, and to eventual champ Manual in the 1947 semifinals. Mayo said that before the 1947-48 school year, the Blackcats hired former UK football star John Eibner to coach their football, basketball and baseball teams. "We had a good bunch of athletes, and did well in all the sports," Mayo said. Baseball did the best, winning the state title. "I was tickled to death when Prestonsburg made it back to the state tournament this year, and won a game (beating North Laurel)," Mayo said.
■ When Ryle fell to Harrison County in the first round of the state baseball tournament on Tuesday, it wasn't the first time Raiders Coach Pat Roesel was involved in big-game loss to a Harrison County team coached by Mac Whitaker. In 1987, Roesel's senior year as a standout player at Covington Catholic, the Colonels lost to Harrison County in the sectional finals. Roesel hit a first-inning homer to give CovCath a 1-0 lead, but the Thorobreds rallied and led 3-2 in the last inning. With a runner on and two outs, Roesel hit a long drive that 'Breds outfielder David Fryman tracked down to end the game.
■ Pleasure Ridge Park's Bill Miller, who has won more baseball games than any coach in Kentucky history, watched St. Xavier's improbable win over Logan County in the state tournament on Tuesday. The Tigers trailed 1-0 and were down to their last strike in the bottom of the eighth inning. They had been no-hit by Logan County sophomore Caleb Bruner up to that point. St. X spoiled the no-hitter and pulled out a 2-1 victory. Miller has been on both ends of that kind of game. In the 1996 state semifinals, PRP trailed Harrison County 5-2 with two outs and nobody on in the seventh. The Panthers rallied to win 9-5 in 12 innings. In the 2011 semifinals, Mercer County trailed PRP 4-1 with two outs and nobody on in the bottom of the seventh. The Titans rallied for four runs to win 5-4. "You win some you have no business winning, and you lose some you have no business losing," Miller said.
■ A reunion of Tates Creek's 1978, 1980 and 1986 state championship baseball teams — all coached by Ron Cole — is being organized for October. For information, former players, coaches and support staff can contact Duncan Gardiner at (859) 576-5000 or DuncanGardiner3@gmail.com.
■ Woodford County senior pitcher Logan Parrett, who suffered an injury that kept him from trying to complete a perfect game against Scott County in the 11th Region semifinals, had an MRI on his right arm this week. His dad (and Yellow Jackets' coach) Jeff Parrett said his son's injury "will require some time off (6-8 weeks), but no surgery. He is fortunate." Logan is headed to UK, where his dad played before going to pitch in the major leagues.
■ Kevin Spurlock has resigned after one season as boys' basketball coach at Perry County Central. He led the Commodores to a 26-8 record and runner-up finish in the 14th Region. Spurlock said it was a "mutual agreement" between him and the administration. "It's probably best for them and best for me." Spurlock left Sheldon Clark to take over at PCC. Sheldon Clark junior standout Justin Johnson transferred to PCC and, after sitting out the first month of the season, became eligible to play for the Commodores. "The biggest regret is not being able to finish it off with Justin," Spurlock said. "We had kind of a father-son relationship. He's hurt about this." Spurlock said Johnson got a scholarship offer from Boston College last week, and that Oklahoma State and Virginia Tech are close to offering. Johnson also has offers from EKU, WKU and Southern Mississippi.
■ The annual Kentucky-Indiana all-star basketball series will include competition between junior teams for the second year in a row. Some of the best junior boys and girls from the two states will play Friday in Greenfield, Ind., and Saturday at St. Xavier in Louisville. The girls play at 5 p.m. each night, followed by the boys. Kentucky's senior all-stars will tune up for their games against Indiana with scrimmages against the Kentucky junior all-stars next week. The girls will play at Marion County on Monday at 6 p.m. The boys will play at Bullitt East on Monday at 6. Both will scrimmage at Madison Central on Wednesday, the girls at 5:30 p.m., followed by the boys. Kentucky takes on Indiana on June 14 in Louisville's Freedom Hall, and June 15 in Indianapolis' Bankers Life Fieldhouse.
■ Gerald Tabor, a former girls' basketball coach at Union County who led the Bravettes to the 1996 state title, died this week. He was 76. Mr. Tabor was Union County's head coach from 1984-98, but later served as a boys' and girls' assistant.
■ 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.
■ Boyd County junior Taylor Wheeler is going to be busy next week. She will play for Kentucky in the junior all-star basketball games against Indiana, and scrimmages against the Kentucky senior all-stars before taking part in the East-West junior all-star softball games in Louisville.