Archive for April, 2007

All-stars and all-staters

Things apparently went well for Boyle County’s Spencer Perrin at last weekend’s tryouts for the Kentucky basketball all-stars, but not good enough to get him a spot on the team, which was announced today.

Perrin was one of 24 at-large invitees and one of 40 players overall trying out for the team, which will play the Indiana all-stars June 16 in Bowling Green and June 23 in Indianapolis.

Boyle coach Ronnie Bottoms thought Perrin might make a good backup for Mr. Basketball Steffphon Pettigrew and figured he would be a tough cut. Perhaps he was, but he was cut nonetheless. Still, the chance to earn a spot was an achievement in itself for Perrin, who wasn’t on the radar screens of anyone outside the 12th Region before last season.

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There was good news on this day for Perrin, who was the only 12th Region player to receive honorable mention on The Associated Press All-State team released today. Perrin was one of 15 players on the honorable mention list below the 10 first- and second-teamers.

The only head-scratcher here is why the AP couldn’t muster an all-state team for more than a month after the end of basketball season. It used to be standard operating procedure for the AP to release its all-state basketball teams during the week of their respective state tournaments, but this year the voting didn’t even begin until after the state tourney. And even with that, there’s no reason why it should have taken a month.

The girls team, by the way, included no 12th Region players.

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Congratulations and best of luck to former Danville boys basketball coach Craig Pippen, who has been hired as the girls coach at Russell County. The Times-Journal of Russell Springs is reporting the hire in its current edition, but no Web link is available.

Pippen replaces Keith Ellis, whose second stint as the Lady Lakers’ coach ended with a 4-23 season.

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Boyle County has cracked the Kentucky High School Baseball Coaches Association’s top 25 poll for the first time this season. The Rebels, who are 12-6 and have won five straight games and 10 of their last 12, are in a four-way tie for 25th.

Danville fell only from fourth to seventh after suffering three losses in four days. The Admirals are still receiving one first-place vote. Somerset also represents the 12th Region at No. 23.

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Finally, some football. The Kentucky Football Coaches Association’s “Tremendous 26,” a list of its top seniors-to-be in the state, was released today and doesn’t include any area players. Some familiar names on the list include John Cole of Somerset and E.J. Fields of Frankfort.

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Big weekend for Boyle, Mercer

The Boyle County and Mercer County baseball teams took significant steps forward by winning invitational tournaments last weekend. Boyle won the Pete Royse Honorary Showdown hosted by East Jessamine and West Jessamine, and Mercer won the Male Bulldog Bash.

Boyle beat West Jessamine 2-0, East Jessamine 5-3 and Nicholas County 7-1 to win the Jessamine tourney, committing only two errors in the three games.

“We had a really good weekend. The team came together and played really well,” Boyle coach David Camic said.

Mercer lost a 17-13 decision to Shelby County but beat Lawrence County 5-4 and Male 9-3 to win Male’s tourney. The Titans tied Male in the round-robin standings at 2-1 and took first place because of their win over the 15th-ranked Bulldogs.

Matthew Robertson was the winning pitcher in the Male game, and Mercer coach Spence Chitwood said he thinks the junior right-hander is starting to round into the form he has shown in the past.

But Chitwood said the win over Male and the successful weekend were a team effort, as evidenced by the fact that all 19 Titans in uniform played in the Male game.

“This was a big accomplishment for our team,” Chitwood said. “We’re real excited with how we played this weekend.”

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A scheduled change at Danville means the first night game at Admiral Field will not be Wednesday’s All “A” Classic sectional playoff against Bishop Brossart, but instead will be Tuesday’s 45th District game against Lincoln County, which has been moved to 7 p.m., following a 5 p.m. junior varsity game.

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All-night games?

They aren’t really playing baseball at Danville and Boyle County at midnight, even though they could. It onlylooks that way while the new lights at both fields are being broken in.

Lights are now in place at both fields, but as part of the installation process they have to burn continuously for several days for reasons that the neighbors probably won’t care much about. This is happening now at Danville and has already happened at Boyle. The new lights require a 100-hour “burn-in” because the metal halide lamps are too bright when first activated. Light levels will not conform to the needed specifications until the bulbs are seasoned in this manner.

Danville’s first official night game will be at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, when the Admirals host Bishop Brossart in an All “A” Classic sectional playoff. Boyle plans to set a date soon for its first varsity game under the lights and is planning a special ceremony to mark the occasion.

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Not long before Danville suffered its first losses of the season, it moved up one spot from No. 5 to No. 4 in this week’s Kentucky High School Baseball Coaches Association Poll

The Admirals received one of the 48 first-place votes and are behind only Lexington Catholic, Paul Dunbar and Pleasure Ridge Park in what is surely the school’s highest ranking ever. Boyle County and Mercer County also received votes in the poll.

The number of unbeaten teams that included Danville was reduced from four to one in the span of a week. The Admirals were in the final two before losing twice on Friday to Taylor County (12-2) and Marion County (7-7) in the Capital City Classic. The only “and-0″ team remaining now is Dunbar, which is 16-0.

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Last week’s Danville-Boyle County game was every bit as enjoyable to watch as I tried to convey in my story in Wednesday’s Advocate.

In fact, it was a virtually perfect baseball afternoon, at least until somebody made off with my camp chair while I was conducting postgame interviews. I can’t imagine why it was such a hot item to steal, since they can be had for $10 or less at almost any store.

So a pox on you who helped yourself to my personal box seat. May it quickly collapse beneath you.

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The Heart of track season

Since the 1970s, the one constant on the local track and field scene has been the Heart of the Bluegrass, the invitational meet established and hosted by Harrodsburg that was for many years the one and only premier meet in the area.

And even though Harrodsburg High School is no more, the meet will continue under the Mercer County banner. The merged Mercer team has taken up residence at Alvis Johnson Field and will host the HOB there on Saturday. And just as it always is, it figures to be a great meet.

Twenty-two teams had entered as of midweek, including local schools Boyle County, Casey County, Danville and Lincoln County.

One of the headliners among visiting teams is Paducah Tilghman, which has won six straight boys state championships in Class AA. Tilghman is bringing part of its boys team to the meet, and Mercer is returning the favor by taking part of its team to Tilghman’s invitational next weekend. Of course, all of this has a great deal to do with the fact that Mercer hopes to end Tilghman’s title string this season.

Other schools in the HOB include Bryan Station, Central, East Jessamine, Henry Clay, Lexington Catholic, Rockcastle County and Southwestern.

Though no one knew it would be the last HOB appearance for Harrodsburg at the time, it was fitting that the Pioneers won the boys competition last season, and it was impressive that they did so with only 13 athletes entered in 13 events. Many of those athletes will be competing for Mercer on Saturday. Meanwhile, last year’s girls champion, St. Henry, is not entered.

Field events begin at 10 a.m., and running events begin at 10:30. Those planning to attend should note that parking will not be allowed in the Lions Park lot adjacent to the stadium. Fans are advised to park in the school lot or in the field across Factory Street from Lions Park.

It’s also worth noting that longtime meet director Alvis Johnson, who grew the HOB into the elite meet it has become, will once again serve as track announcer. Be sure to watch for him leaning out of the press box window during the mile relay.

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The HOB is a big meet, but it isn’t the only big meet on local tracks any more. Danville’s E.G. Plummer Invitational, to be held May 5, has grown to attract impressive fields of its own.

The Double-A Derby, created by Casey County for Class AA teams only, moves to Boyle County this year because Casey’s track has fallen into disrepair. Boyle and Casey will co-host that meet on April 27.

Boyle will also host the Boyle County Invitational on May 11 and the Central Kentucky Conference Championships on May 18, giving its nearly new track surface a pretty good workout. And Danville will host the All “A” Classic on April 28.

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As the season reaches the halfway point, it’s a good time to look at where some of the area’s best athletes rank statewide. Here are performances by area athletes ranked among the top 10 (regardless of class) by the Kentucky Track and Cross Country Coaches Association:

Boys

200 — 8. Brandon Ford (Mercer County) 22.76; 10. Derrick Henderson (Danville) 22.82.

400 — 7. Henderson (Danville) 52.04.

800 — 2. Ross Hempel (Danville) 1:58.42.

110 hurdles — 2. B.J. Strode (Danville) 15.34; 7. John McMaine (Mercer County) 15.64.

300 hurdles — 4. Strode (Danville) 41.64; 8. McMaine (Mercer County) 42.04.

400 relay — 3. Mercer County 44.10.

800 relay — 7. Mercer County 1:33.26; 8. Danville 1:33.37.

High jump — 2. Chrys Jones (Mercer County) 6-4.

Long jump — 4. Jones (Mercer County) 21-5 1/2; 6. Daylen Morris (Danville) 21- 1/2.

Triple jump — 1. Jones (Mercer County) 47-8 1/4.

Shot put — 8. Chaz Grider (Casey County) 46-10 1/2.

Discus — 3. Grider (Casey County) 142-6.

Girls

3200 — 5. Kaitlin Snapp (Danville) 12:09.00.

300 hurdles — 9. Caroline Stroup (Danville) 50.94.

400 relay — 2. Danville 51.33.

800 relay — 4. Danville 1:49.70.

Triple jump — 4. Diamond Pace 33-10.

Discus — 3. Loran Crowell (Mercer County) 100-3; 4. Nataushia Burke (Casey County) 98-8; 9. Samantha Bartleson (Mercer County) 94-9.

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The unbeaten Ads

… And we’re back.

I took a little bit of a break during the local schools’ spring break period, and it became longer than planned as I tried to catch up on the rest of my life, but it’s time to get back in the game.

And what better place to jump back in than with today’s Boyle County-Danville baseball game. Today’s game at Danville is the only scheduled meeting between these rivals, which is enough to make this a compelling game. But there’s more.

Danville, which climbed from 10th to fifth in the latest statewide coaches’ poll, is one of only four remaining unbeaten teams in Kentucky. The Admirals are 13-0 entering today’s play, joined in the ranks of the lossless only by No. 2 Paul Dunbar (15-0), No. 25 Russellville (12-0) and unranked Boone County (10-0).

Boyle stands at 7-5 but has won five of its last six games, a run that includes a win over Mercer County. And while Danville has played better teams than Boyle, none will have been more motivated to give the Admirals something to hang in the loss column.

If you’re going and haven’t been to a Danville game this season, you should know that work to install lights at Admiral Field forced the removal of some of the bleachers. Bring a lawn chair or a blanket just in case they haven’t been put back yet.

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Garrard makes a softball statement

Winning the championship of the Boyle County Invitational this weekend establishes the Lady Lions as the team to beat locally during this softball season. With two good pitchers and a talented, if young, lineup, this is a team that figures to rack up plenty of wins again this season and might become one of the top three or four teams in the 12th Region by season’s end.

There are only two seniors on the team — Kara McCane and Jamie Speake — so there’s every reason to believe Garrard is going to be an increasingly tougher team to beat over the next several years. And the impressive fashion in which they won their three games in Saturday’s championship bracket — all by one run — indicates a toughness they might not have realized they had.

It would be good to see Garrard or any other local team break the stranglehold that teams to our south have on the 12th Region championship. Area teams have traditionally hit the glass ceiling in the regional semifinals, but softball continues to improve throughout this area, and the region becomes a little more balanced every year.

The other big news from the BCI was the fact that the tournament was played over two dry days, a rare occurence for a tournament that has been plagued by rain in almost every year of its existence. Only the smallest of sprinkles fell on Friday night, not even enough to interrupt play, and Saturday’s games were played in ideal conditions.

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