Daily Independent (Ashland, KY)

Columns

May 29, 2013

MARK MAYNARD: Sisters meet baseball royalty at Reds-Cubs game

ASHLAND — We’re off and running with a 15-name salute that’s almost all baseball. Count along if you will.

My good friend and fellow baseball lover Larry Bailey (1), the Verity Middle School English teacher and former reporter at this newspaper, took in the Reds-Cubs game on Sunday at Great American Ball Park with some friends.

Two sisters, Lydia O’Nan (2), a soon-to-be eighth-grader, and her sister, Katherine (3), a soon-to-be senior, were among the traveling party and they were wearing Chicago Cubs gear.

The girls were stopped by former Cincinnati Reds slugger George Foster (4), who took them over to a table where Cub pitching great Fergie Jenkins (5) was signing autographs. The girls posed for photos with Jenkins, the Cubs’ Hall of Fame pitcher.

Bailey said the girls really didn’t know Foster or Jenkins, but he told them about their status and showed them some of Foster’s achievements in the Reds Hall of Fame.

Larry’s son, Kenner (6), couldn’t make the trip, but they took Connor Hutchinson (7), another of Bailey’s Verity students, with them.

Of course, Cub fans show up in good numbers when they play the Reds in Cincinnati. Larry spotted one Cub fan who was wearing a shirt that read: “1908 wasn’t that long ago!” That is the last year the Cubs won a World Series.

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The Ashland Community Day game June 9 at Great American Ball Park has been moved to an ESPN night game against the St. Louis Cardinals.

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Congratulations to Ashland native Jody Hamilton (8) on his 800th victory as a high school baseball coach in Kentucky.

Hamilton, who coaches at West Jessamine, hit that magic number in the district opener last week.

His win total stands at 802 before the Colts fell in the 12th Region semifinals to 27-game winner Southwestern.

Hamilton had a storied baseball career at Ashland and Morehead State University, where he was a Triple Crown winner his junior season, and played a summer for the Paintsville Yankees.

Few know the game better than Jody. He led Boyd County to the 2001 state championship and numerous regional titles and Final Four appearances.

Hamilton is a baseball legend in Kentucky for all those reasons.

He will be one of our guests for the CP-1 Reunion on Aug. 24 in Central Park. Be sure to circle the calendar.

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The 39th annual Elks Sports Day is fast approaching, set for June 14 and 15, to honor former Ashland Tomcat football coach Vic Marsh (9).

I spoke the other day with Juan Thomas (10), one of the stars from the 1990 state championship team who went on to an amazing professional baseball career, all in the minor leagues. Juan is living in Sue Falls, South Dakota. Be watching for a story on him and his connection and respect for Coach Marsh later in the week.

Coach Herb Conley (11) and Vic’s son, Scott (12), will be the guest speakers for the Saturday night banquet. The reception is Friday night. Both events start at 7.

I’m still surprised at how many have never attended a Sports Day, especially considering it’s an event that has been ongoing for nearly 40 years. It’s for all-comers, Elks members or not, male or female, young or old.

“We’d like to fill the place,” said Sports Day organizer George Stout (13). “It’s a great weekend and you’ll see some friends you haven’t seen in years.”

It’s an excellent event that always entertains and enlightens. I highly recommend it.

Tickets for the Sports Day weekend are available at the lodge, Ashland Sporting Goods and The Frame-Up Gallery.

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French Harmon (14), another baseball name from Ashland’s past, managed Meece Middle School to the state baseball championship this spring.

French’s son, Trae (15), is a seventh-grader on the team.

Meece defeated East Jessamine, Northern Pulaski, Muhlenburg County, Oldham County and then Pikeville in the championship game.

Harmon is pastor of First Baptist Church in Somerset.

MARK MAYNARD can be reached at (606) 326-2648.

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