Archive for June, 2012

Garrard loses another boys basketball coach

In what is becoming an unfortunate annual occurrence at Garrard County, the school is once again in the market for a boys basketball coach following the resignation of Brandon Cooper.

The Advocate’s Hal Morris reports today that Cooper has resigned after only one season at his alma mater to take a job as an assistant coach at Pulaski County and that the search for his successor is under way.

Cooper, a former Southwestern assistant who took the Garrard job just less than a year ago, was the school’s fifth coach in the last four seasons and its sixth in six years. He went 12-18 in his only season with the Golden Lions.

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Athletes, scholar-athletes of the year coming soon

The high school sports year ended last week with Mercer County’s appearance in the state baseball tournament and Boyle County’s run to third place in the state softball tournament, but the Advocate sports team isn’t quite finished with our coverage.

The Advocate’s area athletes of the year will be announced this week, with the announcements tentatively set for Monday for the male athlete of the year and Wednesday for the female athlete of the year. Finally, the announcement of the area scholar-athletes of the year is set for late next week.

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Boyle finishes third at state softball tourney

Boyle County’s remarkable run at the state softball tournament ended with a third-place finish after the Lady Rebels lost twice today.

Boyle lost 8-0 to No. 4 Mercy — the eventual champion — in the winners’ bracket final and 3-2 to No. 17 Lone Oak in the consolation bracket final, but its finish was still the best for any 1th Region team during the fast-pitch era. Follow these links to read the story and sidebar by the Advocate’s Hal Morris.

KK Davis and Lauren Richards were named to the all-tournament team. Richards led Boyle in the tournament with a .533 batting average, while Davis batted .375 and pitched 10 innings without allowing an earned run, striking out nine batters and walking only two.

Each of Boyle’s three pitchers — Davis, Hannah Miniard and Elysse Petrie — earned a win in the tournament. Miniard was the losing pitcher in both games today, but she pitched 16 1/3 innings with a 1.29 ERA, striking out 19 batters and walking only six.

Lindsey Edwards received one of four scholarships awarded by tournament sponsor Rawlings to players in the field.

Boyle’s run, which included wins over No. 22 Oldham County, Estill County and Ryle before its two losses, is one worth noting both because of its historical significance and because of what it could lead to in the future. The Lady Rebels lose only two seniors — Davis and Edwards — and the incoming freshman class just closed their middle school careers by winning their Salt River Conference championship.

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Boyle rolls into Saturday softball semifinal

Boyle County has become the surprise team at the state softball tournament in Owensboro, where the Lady Rebels are one of only four teams remaining for Saturday’s final rounds. Let me say that again: four teams are left, three known softball powers and Boyle.

With their 7-3 victory over Ryle this afternoon, the Lady Rebels matched the best state tournament win total for an Advocate-area team (three wins, tying Garrard County’s total in 2009), and they had already moved deeper into the winners’ bracket than any local team before them.

Now they play No. 4 Mercy at 10 a.m. Saturday in the winners’ bracket final, which is the equivalent of a semifinal. At stake is a berth in the championship game against the survivor of the losers’ bracket, No. 3 Greenwood, No. 17 Lone Oak or the Boyle-Mercy loser.

If Boyle pulls off another win, it will play for the championship at 2 p.m., with a second championship to follow at about 4 p.m. if the losers’ bracket survivor wins the first. If Boyle loses to Mercy, it would play the Greenwood-Lone Oak winner at noon for a berth in the championship.

You can follow the Lady Rebels from home — or just about anywhere else — with live video of any and all remaining Boyle games from (Scroll down on the linked page to find the game you’re looking for.) Live pitch-by-pitch stats will also continue to be available from the KHSAA: follow these links for the Boyle-Mercy game, the consolation final and the championship as needed, and check this page for links to live stats and postgame box scores and play-by-play for all games.

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Boyle on the march at state softball tourney

Boyle County has gotten on something of a roll at the state softball tournament, winning its first game Thursday night and its second game this morning to advance to the winners’ bracket quarterfinals.

The Lady Rebels opened with a 4-1 victory over No. 22 Oldham County in their state tourney debut, then routed Estill County 8-0 this morning. (Follow the links for box scores and play-by-play details.)

Their next game will be at 4 p.m. today against Ryle, which advanced with 1-0 wins over No. 5 Christian County and No. 10 North Laurel. A win in the afternoon game would send Boyle into the Saturday morning winners’ bracket semifinal, while a loss would put them back on the field tonight for an 8 p.m. elimination game.

Click here to follow this afternoon’s Boyle-Ryle game with live pitch-by-pitch stats.

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Boyle debuts in state softball tourney

It’s game day for Boyle County at the state softball tournamentin Owensboro, where the Lady Rebels will make their debut in a 6 p.m. first-round game against Oldham County at Jack C. Fisher Park.

Boyle becomes only the second Advocate-area team to play in a state softball tourney — either fast-pitch or slow-pitch — joining 2008 and ’09 12th Region champion Garrard County. The Lady Rebels are one of only six unranked teams in the 16-team field, and while they lack the experience that almost always helps in a state tournament, they do have the talent and pitching to make you think their stay in the double-elimination tournament could last longer than two games.

Boyle and Oldham, which ended the season ranked 22nd, have already crossed paths this season. Oldham won a March 31 meeting in a tournament at Ballard 4-0. The two teams’ scoring are similar: Boyle scores an average of 5.44 runs and allows 1.98 runs per game; Oldham scores 6.05 and allows 2.23.

Follow these links to the KHSAA .pdf bracket (easier to read) and the KHSAA scoreboard bracket (doesn’t require downloading).

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If you’re going to Owensboro, plan on a three-hour drive via U.S. 150 and the Bluegrass, Western Kentucky and William H. Natcher parkways.

Tickets are $5 today, when each team plays only once, and $10 Friday and Saturday, and you’ll get an armband each day that lets you come and go as you please. Armbands good for all three days are $15. There is no reserved seating, and fans are encouraged to bring lawn chairs but must leave coolers and drinks in their vehicles.

If you’re following the Lady Rebels from afar, there is no local radio coverage, and live video coverage from won’t be available until Saturday’s final rounds.

The KHSAA will provide live pitch-by-pitch stats of each game. Find the links on this KHSAA web page — Boyle’s first game is Game 2 — as well as links to postgame box scores and rosters and pre-tournament stats for each team.

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Mercer falls in first round of state baseball tourney

Mercer County’s second trip to the state baseball tournament didn’t last nearly as long as its first, as the Titans were eliminated in the first round with a 4-0 loss to St. Xavier today at Whitaker Bank Ballpark.
St. Xavier (30-11) scored all of its runs in the sixth inning, breaking a scoreless tie and breaking the Titans’ hearts with a titanic two-run home run by Andrew Willinger.
That was too much for Mercer (23-13), because while the Tigers didn’t muster much offense against Mercer pitcher J.T. Long, the Titans did even less against St. Xavier’s Sam Melchior.
They managed only one hit, a leadoff single by Jon Banks in the third inning, and one other base-runner against Melchior, who had eight strikeouts and retired the 22 Mercer batters he faced on only 81 pitches.
Long stranded four runners in the first five innings and two more were caught stealing before St. Xavier got to him in the sixth. After a leadoff walk to Austin Clemons, Willinger hit the seventh pitch of his at-bat halfway up the bleachers in left field.
Josh Osborne followed with a single and pinch-runner David Gahafer scored on an error on pinch-runner Gunner Waggoner’s sacrifice bunt to make it 3-0. McCormick made it to third on the error, then scored on a squeeze bunt by Zach Montomery.
Long allowed four hits and two walks and had two strikeouts in six innings. Reliever Jackson Stoeckinger got the first two outs in the seventh inning, then picked a runner off first base who had reached on an error.
Mercer returned to the state tournament in hopes of replicating its remarkable run last season, when the Titans won three games to reach the finals. The Titans went deeper into the postseason last year than any area team had gone before, and this season they became the first 12th Region team to repeat as champion in 12 years.
Visit tonight or see Tuesday’s Advocate for expanded coverage of today’s game.

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Mercer returns to state baseball tourney

The team that took the state baseball tournament by storm last year is back for more. Mercer County returns to Whitaker Bank Ballpark in Lexington today for its second consecutive state tourney appearance, emboldened by the confidence of its unlikely run to the title game last year and saddled with one tough draw.

The Titans face St. Xavier, the de facto favorite, in their first-round game in the 16-team tournament at 1:30 p.m. Monday. St. Xavier was ranked No. 3 in the final regular-season coaches poll and is the only top-10 team to make it this far. The Tigers are one of only four teams in Kentucky to give up fewer than 100 runs this season, having allowed just 81 runs in 40 games (2.03 per game).

St. Xavier and Mercer are among six teams from last year’s state tournament that have returned this season. The Tigers lost a semifinal to Central Hardin, which beat the Titans in the title game the following night.

Mercer will probably be regarded as an even darker darkhorse than last year, perhaps rightfully so. This year’s Titans haven’t approached the offensive firepower of last year’s team, winning instead with pitching and defense. And they have a much tougher draw than they had a year ago, when they had no ranked teams in their four-team sub-bracket.

But they’re back, and recent history tells us it would be foolish to count them out Monday. Single-elimination baseball is a crazy thing, and no one has illustrated that better than Mercer in the last two postseasons.

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Mercer’s game Monday follows an 11 a.m. game between South Warren and Central Hardin, so the 1:30 scheduled start could be pushed back a bit depending on the length of that game. Tickets are $10 for general admission and $14 for box seats behind home plate, and parking is $3 in the ballpark lot.

Mercer will be the home team and in the first-base dugout. The Mercer-St. Xavier winner will play the winner of a Monday night game between Pikeville and Bishop Brossart.

The game will be broadcast locally on WHBN-AM 1420, with streaming audio available at the station’s website,

Click here to find rosters and statistics for Mercer, St. Xavier and the other teams in the field, as well as links to live audio and stats and postgame box scores.

And of course, the Advocate will be all over it once again. We’ll be tweeting updates during the game at @amnewsonline, and there’ll be coverage at soon after the game and Tuesday in the Advocate.

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KHSAA 2013 hall of fame class announced

Nine former athletes, coaches and officials will make up the 2013 class for the Dawahares/KHSAA Hall of Fame, the KHSAA announced today.

The group includes several readily recognizable names, including Olympic track and field star Tyson Gay. The inductees:

  • Pascal Benson — Three-sport star at Henderson in the 1950s.
  • Julie Ditty — Three-time state tennis champion in girls singles at Lexington Christian and Russell.
  • Tyson Gay — Three-time state track and field champion at Lafayette. Later became a three-time world champion and an Olympian and for a time had the title of fastest man in the world.
  • Burney Jenkins — Longtime football, basketball and baseball official who has called 14 championship games in the three sports.
  • Roger Klein — Coached tennis at Bellevue for 32 years. His perseverance led to the establishment of the first KHSAA state tennis tournament in 1945.
  • Frank Miklavcic — Longtime track and field coach at Paintsville and Frankfort. Currently serves as an official and as executive director of the Kentucky Track and Cross Country Coaches Association.
  • Ron Myers — Coached baseball for 31 years at Elizabethtown, winning 727 games and two state championships.
  • Jamie Walz Richey — Kentucky’s all-time leading scorer in girls basketball with 4,948 points. Won Miss Basketball and Parade Magazine National Player of the Year awards in 1996.
  • John Dee Wilson — Boys basketball coach at Cawood, Webster County and Red Bird. Breathed new life into the program at Red Bird after retiring from public schools.

No one in this group has Advocate-area ties that I’m aware of, so I’ll reach for a couple of connections, both from the track:

  • Gay had a terrific sprint duel with former Lincoln County star Maurice Napier at the 1999 state championships, when Gay was a sophomore and Napier was a senior. Gay won the first of his three straight championships in the 100, running a 10.81 to beat Napier by .15 seconds. The two finished with the same time of 21.73 seconds in the 200, but Napier was declared the winner in a photo finish.
  • Miklavcic, who was probably watching that race, has been a familiar face at area track and field and cross country meets for many years, first as Frankfort’s coach and now either as an official or manning the computer that manages the meet results.

The class will be inducted in April 2013. The nine honorees bring the total list of KHSAA hall honorees to 412. Previous inductees are listed on this KHSAA document. Further details on the inductees can be found in this KHSAA press release. (both are .pdf files.)

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