Sunday, May 29, 2011

First Region coaches awards ...

The First Region baseball coaches determined their award winners at Sunday's regional tournament draw.

Player of the Year — Jordyn Abell (SS-P, Ballard Memorial)

Coach of the Year — Josh May (Reidland)

East-West Senior All-Star Game — Jordyn Abell (SS-P, Ballard Memorial) and Trevor Hicks (P-3B, Hickman County) ... alternate is Josh Dickson (1B, Lone Oak)

East-West Junior All-Star Game — Dylan Dwyer (P-OF, Calloway County) and Nathan Hackel (C-P, Graves County) ... alternate is Austin Adams (P-1B, Murray)

Sophomore Showcase – Seth English (P-1B, Community Christian), John Lollar (P-IF, Murray) and Micah Chessor (P-IF, Reidland) ... alternates Sam Goode (3B-P, Lone Oak) and Clay Chandler (C-3B-P, Ballard Memorial)

First Region baseball pairings ...

First Region baseball tournament
(at Brooks Stadium)

Hickman County (17-11) vs. Mayfield (7-16), 11 a.m.
Lone Oak (23-12) vs. Murray (17-13), 1:30 p.m.
Calloway County (16-16) vs. Fulton City (6-16), 4 p.m.
Ballard Memorial (23-9) vs. Reidland (19-9), 6:30 p.m.

Semifinals, 5 p.m.

Finals, 6 p.m.

Notes: Hickman County didn't use ace pitcher Trevor Hicks in the First District tournament and will have him available for Monday. Fulton City is essentially out of pitching, having used ace Jordan Miller in the district semifinals on Friday and playing its district championship game on Saturday.

Fulton City asked to move the first day of the tournament back to Tuesday, but the proposal was voted down by the eight participating schools.

Ballard Memorial vs. Reidland is a rematch of the All A Classic regional championship, which the Greyhounds won 4-2 en route to a berth in the state tournament. Ballard beat Reidland 10-9 later in the season.

Hickman County beat Mayfield 4-3 in the All A Classic regional quarterfinals, a game in which Hicks went the distance for the Falcons and took a shutout into the seventh inning. The Cardinals had beaten Hickman 2-1 about two weeks prior to that.

Lone Oak and Murray didn't play each other during the regular season, nor did Calloway County and Fulton City.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

First Region softball pairings ...

First Region softball tournament
(at Graves County)

Hickman County (10-13) vs. Heath (18-13), noon
Ballard Memorial (17-12) vs. Calloway County (19-12), 2 p.m.
Reidland (23-10) vs. Graves County (13-14), 4 p.m.
Marshall County (23-7) vs. Carlisle County (10-14), 6 p.m.

Semifinals, 5 p.m.

Championship, 7 p.m.

Notes: On paper, the top four teams in the tournament are (in alphabetical order) Calloway County, Heath, Marshall County and Reidland, and all four will be favored to reach the semifinals.

Interestingly, none of the four first-round games are matchups that we saw during the regular season. Hickman County upset Heath 2-1 in the first round of the regional tournament last year.

The bracket was set up in similar fashion last year, with Heath and Calloway slated to meet in the semifinals, as were Reidland and Marshall, but Hickman spoiled the party.

Reidland is the defending state champion and has also won two straight All A Classic state titles.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Fourth District baseball pairings ...

The Fourth District baseball tournament, which has pairings determined via a blind draw for the first time in over two decades, turned out to be not far off what a seeded tournament might look like.

Murray will take on Christian Fellowship in the "play-in" game, scheduled for May 23 at Community Christian, with the winner taking on Marshall County in the semifinals on May 25. Calloway County will meet Community Christian for a trip to the district finals and a berth in the regional tournament.

The championship game is scheduled for May 26.

One caveat: Christian Fellowship, which has played just seven games this season, needs to play three more to reach the minimum 10 games as required by the Kentucky High School Athletic Association to compete in postseason play. Fulton City had to cancel a game that was scheduled for today, and at the moment, the Eagles are supposed to play Fulton County on Saturday.

That means CFS will have to play two games next week to qualify for the postseason.

If CFS fails to get to 10 teams, Murray and Marshall will meet in the semifinals, and the tournament schedule is likely to change, perhaps with one semifinal each on May 23-24 and the finals on May 25.

Also, the five district teams voted to continue determining the tournament pairings via blind raw instead of seeding. The vote was 3-2 with Murray, Community Christian and Christian Fellowship voting to use a draw.

That means it is unliklely that Marshall and Calloway will play any of their three district rivals again in 2012.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Roof, Moore excel on NAIA level

Former Lone Oak pitcher Derek Roof worked hard over the final two days as Union University (Tenn.) won the TranSouth Athletic Conference baseball tournament last weekend.

Roof, who spent his freshman year at Indiana, closed out a win over nationally-ranked Cumberland in an elimination contest on Friday, then threw a complete game in an 11-2 win over Bethel in Saturday's championship game.

Now 7-1 with a 3.90 ERA for the Bulldogs, Roof pitched five innings in relief against Cumberland, allowing just two runs. A little more than 24 hours after that 69-pitch effort, Roof pitched nine innings against Bethel, throwing 99 pitches.

In 14 innings over the two outings Roof allowed 14 hits and four runs with no walks and eight strikeouts.

Union, which has moved up to No. 8 in the NAIA national rankings, is the No. 1 seed at the regional tournament at Kingsport, Tenn. Cumberland, the defending national champion, is ranked fifth nationally and is the No. 1 seed at the Paducah Regional, which begins Wednesday at Brooks Stadium.

Moore, a St. Mary product, was named the Kentucky Intercollegiate Athletic Conference player of the year after leading the league in several offensive categories. Moore, a third baseman at Berea College, hit .467 with 9 home runs and 35 RBI in 43 games. He led the league in batting average and slugging percentage and had 31 extra-base hits i only 152 at-bats.

Berea reached the KIAC championship game, falling to regular-season champion Indiana-Southeast.

He has gotten a couple of looks from professional scouts — Boston and Toronto have expressed some interest — and there is a chance he could be a late-round selection in Major League Baseball's amateur draft in June.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Football scheduling news ...

Only 115 days — or a little over 16 weeks — until the western Kentucky football season starts off with a bang, the season-opening tilt between crosstown rivals Lone Oak and Paducah Tilghman.

But a look at some of the top teams' schedules reveals some interesting non-district matchups.

Lone Oak's schedule has undergone a major upgrade — Owensboro is now a Class 4A district opponent and the non-district slate includes Tilghman, defending Class 5A runner-up Christian County and a bowl-game date at Hopkinsville.

Tilghman's second game is against powerhouse Evansville Reitz, a contest that is part of a bowl game that was originally scheduled to have been played at Papa John's Cardinal Stadium in Louisville. Word is the bowl may be moved elsewhere in town, perhaps at Louisville Trinity, but nothing has yet been set.

The Tornado also has a first meeting with Crittenden County and a late-season game at Clarksville Northeast, a Class 5A team in Tennessee that went 8-5 and reached the state quarterfinals last season, falling 24-21 to eventual state runner-up Hendersonville.

Mayfield will open up with Greenwood at a bowl game in Bowling Green, with a potential matchup with Warren Central (and ex-Graves County coach Mike Rogers) in 2012. The Cardinals will take on Evansville Harrison in the Alliance Bowl at Graves County, with the host school meeting Madisonville. And the Cardinals will renew acquaintances with Murray for the first time since Kentucky realigned into six classes after the 2006 season.

Reidland's schedule includes an early-September game at Lake County, a Tennessee Class A quarterfinalist last fall.

Crittenden County and Trigg County haven't hooked up in over a decade and will meet in Trigg's Wildcat Chevrlolet Bowl. The Rockets will host the Kentucky National Guard Warrior Bowl to open the season, taking on Hopkins Central with Caldwell County also meeting Union County.

Monday, April 25, 2011

College player updates ...

Few pitchers in college baseball have improved as much as former Marshall County left-hander Cody Forsythe, who threw seven shutout innings at Creighton on Saturday. Forsythe, a sophomore, allowed four hits and struck out 10 and has put together some impressive numbers for the Salukis — Forsythe is 5-3 with a 2.08 ERA and has only nine walks and 50 strikeouts in 69 innings.

Former Heath star Chad Wright is hitting .314 with four home runs and 27 RBI for Kentucky and leads the Wildcats with a .423 on-base percentage.

Gabriel Shaw has struggled in recent outings for Louisville and is now 0-2 with a 7.31 ERA. There are reports that Shaw, a St. Mary product, has yet to recover some lost velocity on his fastball after undergoing elbow surgery in the summer of 2009.

James Jones is continuing to throw well in his role as the closer for Louisiana-Monroe. James, a Ballard Memorial product, is 4-1 with a 2.03 ERA with only 27 hits allowed in 40 innings. He has five saves and has walked 12 batters to go with 37 strikeouts.