Archive for June, 2008

Football alignment approved

The KHSAA has approved the football alignment for 2009-10, and there isn’t much news here. There were six requests made for changes from the preliminary alignment released last month, and five of them were approved.

The makeup of the four districts in which Advocate-area teams play remains unchanged.

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Somerset hoops job filled

The only remaining basketball coaching opening in the 12th Region (to the best of my knowledge) was filled earlier this week when Somerset hired Don Daniel as its new boys coach.

Daniel comes to Somerset after 13 seasons at Rowan County, the same school that recently hired Shawn Thacker from Somerset after Daniel resigned. Funny how things work out.

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Pride of the Lions

The sense of pride that prevailed in the Garrard County softball camp even amid the Lady Lions’ disappointment surrounding the end of their season was justified. Garrard won one, lost two and, as coach Jeff Meadors said, competed well in all three of its games at the State Softball Tournament.

The Lady Lions’ win over Pleasure Ridge Park distinguished them from the teams that simply showed up in Owensboro, just as a win in the first round of the state basketball tournaments sets those teams apart. Yes, it’s an honor to make it to a state tournament, but it sweetens the accomplishment if you advance once you get there.

And Garrard might get the chance to do that again next year. A good combination of returning starters and young players on the way makes the Lady Lions the early pick as the team to beat in the 12th Region in 2009.

As for the teams that defeated Garrard at the state tournament, Ryle lost its Saturday morning winners’ bracket semifinal to eventual runner-up North Laurel, outlasted Anderson County in 11 innings in its first losers’ bracket game, then lost to Owensboro Catholic in the winners’ bracket semifinal, marking the second straight year its season ended with a loss to O-Cath. Anderson, which eliminated Garrard on Friday evening, defeated Central Hardin on Saturday morning before its’ 2-1 loss to Ryle.

If you missed any of our coverage from Owensboro, you can catch up on our special Web page devoted to Garrard’s big day in Owensboro, which includes Larry Vaught’s game logs, stories on each of the three games and a slideshow. There’s also coverage in today’s Advocate that includes a recap and a Vaught’s Views column.

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Follow Garrard at the state softball tourney

Garrard County makes its first appearance in the State Softball Tournament later today, and we’ll be in Owensboro to follow the action. The Advocate has big plans to cover the Lady Lions’ two or more games on amnews.com, including in-progress updates, stories from each game and a photo slideshow.

It’s all being packaged on a special Web page artfully created by webmaster extraordinaire Gary Moyers and sponsored by The Irvin Group of Lancaster. The page already includes our pre-tournament stories, a slideshow with mug shots of the Garrard starting nine and statistics from the KHSAA. There will be plenty more posted this afternoon and evening, so be sure to check back. There will be full coverage in Sunday’s Advocate as well.

Garrard’s first-round game against Ryle is at 11:45 a.m., and win or lose the Lady Lions will play a second game at 2:45 p.m. against Ballard or Pleasure Ridge Park. If there’s a third game today, it’ll be at 6 p.m. (They’ll have to win two games Friday, whether in the winners’ bracket or the losers’ bracket, to advance to Saturday.) The KHSAA doesn’t offer live updates from this tournament, so we’ll be the first to do that, at least to this extent, when Larry Vaught updates from today’s games.

Here are some other tidbits on the tournament:

  • This is the 14th year for the state fast-pitch tournament, and this is the first appearance for any area school. For years it was an accomplishment for any of them just to win a first-round game in the 12th Region Tournament, where the balance of power tipped heavily to the southern end of the region.
  • The KHSAA still refers to this tournament as the state fast-pitch tournament, even though it’s now the only softball championship the association sponsors. It discontinued its slow-pitch tournament last year after participation dwindled to a handful of schools in northern Kentucky.
  • Slow-pitch champions were crowned from 1983-2007 (Jessamine County won one in 1993), but the fast-pitch game rose took hold in the 1990s after a lawsuit contended that Kentucky girls were being denied scholarship opportunities because they couldn’t play the same game (fast-pitch) played at the college level. The KHSAA introduced fast-pitch softball but continued to sponsor championships in both games, and the slow-pitch game faded out pretty quickly.
  • Only eight schools have won the previous 13 fast-pitch titles. This year’s top-ranked team, Owensboro Catholic, has won four times. Ryle, Garrard’s first-round foe, won the championship in 2006 and lost to Greenwood in the finals last year. Ryle and 2001 winner North Laurel are the only winners from east of the Interstate 65 corridor.
  • Garrard has played three of the other 15 teams in the state tournament field, and the Lady Lions defeated them all. They beat 7th Region champion Ballard 6-1 on March 28, beat 14th Region champ Estill County 7-0 on May 3 and beat 10th Region champ George Rogers Clark 5-2 on May 9.
  • Ryle has played only one 12th Region team this season. The Lady Raiders defeated Danville 3-0 on April 25 in a tournament at North Laurel. Garrard has not played a team from the 9th Region this spring.
  • The aforementioned page at amnews.com will have everything you need to know about Garrard, but here’s the link to the KHSAA page with stats on all 16 teams, tournament brackets and eventually linescores from all the games.
  • The tournament is back at Owensboro’s Jack C. Fisher Park for the first time in three years. The park has four fields laid out similar to the four-field baseball and softball designs at Danville’s Millennium Park and Harrodsburg’s Anderson-Dean Community Park. In addition to this event, it regularly hosts large amateur tournaments as well.
  • Owensboro is the third-largest city in Kentucky, and I’ve lived in Kentucky for 34 years and traveled to virutally every corner of the state, including 118 of the 120 counties. But I’ve never been to Owensboro, having only bypassed it on the parkways and freeways on the way to other towns. So I’m looking forward to the visit, if not to the always bucolic ride down the Western Kentucky Parkway or the 94-degree heat forecast for today.
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All-Area baseball, softball teams set

The Advocate’s All-Area baseball team was announced in today’s print edition and can be read online here. The All-Area softball team is tentatively scheduled to be announced on Sunday. Both teams are voted by the coaches of the seven area schools with baseball and softball teams.

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Tracking the champions

It proved to be another banner year for area athletes at the State Track & Field Championships, and no one should be surprised by that. But it’s worth nothing that the total of titles won by locals this weekend in Louisville compares favorably with their hauls from each of the last three years.

There were nine state championships in all, the same number as last year. Here’s the full list of local winners:

CLASS A
Boys

800 — Ross Hempel, Danville
1600 relay — Danville (Hempel, Nick Winkler, Derrick Henderson, Lamont Key)

Girls

1600 — Kaitlin Snapp, Danville
3200 — Snapp
Triple jump — Diamond Pace, Danville

CLASS AA
Girls

400 — Cheyenne Evans, Boyle County
1600 relay — Boyle County (Emily Wesley, Evans, Kelsey Barbato, Emily Hall)
3200 relay — Boyle County (Wesley, Evans, Barbato, Abby Kerbaugh)
Discus — Loran Crowell, Mercer County

And here’s how the number of winners breaks down and compares to the three previous seasons:

  • 2008: 9 total titles, 5 in Class A (Danville 5), 4 in Class 2A (Boyle County 3, Mercer County 1).
  • 2007: 9 total titles, 4 in A (Danville 4), 5 in 2A (Mercer 4, Casey County 1).
  • 2006: 5 total titles, 5 in A (Danville 3, Harrodsburg 2).
  • 2005: 5 total titles, 3 in A (Danville 2, Harrodsburg 1), 2 in 2A (Boyle 1, Mercer 1).

What does it mean? That track and field continues to thrive in this area and that local schools continue to hold their own against similar schools from across Kentucky. And the number of young athletes enjoying success at the state and regional levels hints that the state titles will keep on coming.

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