Can a new slow-pitch league catch on quickly in the area?
Chris Whitt, the adult softball league’s director, has good reason to think so.
“Huntington has 50 to 55 teams right now,” Whitt said. “I think we can get there.”
The league will play its games inside the confines of Championship Fastpitch Sports Complex, a brand new establishment founded by Championship Fastpitch owner Dave Miller. The complex is located just behind the Boyd County Fairgrounds, and while unfinished, the five-field facility is already an eye-pleasing treat.
“Those fields are immaculate,” Whitt said. “We didn’t have anything like that around here. It’s going to be really nice.”
Miller has huge plans for the complex, and he believes it will provide a significant boost to the local economy when it’s all said and done.
It will be constantly abuzz this spring and summer, with fastpitch tournaments filling up the fields on the weekends and slow-pitch keeping things busy throughout the week.
The slow-pitch league currently consists of about 18 teams, said Whitt, and includes men’s upper and lower divisions, a co-ed league and a church league. Teams will play doubleheaders on the same designated day each week. Games will be played Monday through Thursday and will likely begin on Monday, May 13.
“My goal is to recapture and rekindle the slow-pitch market around here,” Miller said. “I think there’s a lot of people.”
The facility has plenty to offer, as the first four fields are being completed at the moment. The grand opening could take place as early as Saturday, May 4, said Miller.
Miller said the fields are similar to Ashland Blazer’s softball field, where Miller is the head coach of the four-time defending 16th Region champion Kittens.
“We have the block wall with nets, the padding on the backstop with a logo, and big, nice spacious dugouts,” he said.
A temporary concession stand will be set up, but lights won’t be installed until probably next summer, said Miller.
Whitt is going into his third year of heading up the league. He said the number of teams dropped to a measly six last year, citing the restrictions of the field they were using at Southside Park as a reason.
While Whitt is pleased with the interest so far, he’s hoping for more church teams to get involved, especially considering the fact that the Ashland Plaza Church of the Nazarene League disassembling.
Hooking up with Miller has opened up several possibilities.
“Moving out (to Championship Fastpitch), we’re unlimited growth-wise,” Whitt said. “It’s great to work with somebody (Miller) that wants to grow as badly as I do.”
Whitt hopes to see the idea of three slow-pitch seasons come to fruition — spring, summer and fall. The spring season will last seven weeks and will culminate with a double-elimination final tournament.
Cost is $500 per team. Individuals interested in playing, but don’t have a team, can contact Whitt at (606) 393-5005 or email@example.com. Registration deadline is Friday, May 3.
AARON SNYDER can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (606) 326-2664.
Softball games will be played at new complex in Boyd County
Can a new slow-pitch league catch on quickly in the area?
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Panthers pound Ashland for repeat trip to Rupp (with video)
The Fleming County Panthers waited nearly an hour to ascend the ladders set up under the goals at Ellis T. Johnson Arena on Tuesday night.
To the victor belongs the spoils, which traditionally includes the nets after winning a tournament title. But Fleming County milled around on Morehead State’s floor taking pictures and soaking in the atmosphere after handling Ashland 82-59 in the 16th Region Tournament final.
Snipping the twine was almost an afterthought. In fact, except for a minute or so of celebration with their student section immediately following the final buzzer, the Panthers didn’t really even seem all that excited.
They expected to be here, and they were all business after earning back-to-back region titles and trips to Rupp Arena.
AARON SNYDER: Truth or Dare unkind to ’Cats
Ashland was left feeling like the shy kid after an intense game of Truth or Dare.
Truth: Fleming County outrebounded Ashland, 39-24, after Ashland outdueled Greenup County by 10 the night before.
'Relaxed' Steward earns MVP award
Both Fleming County coach Mark Starns and stellar senior Troy Steward attributed his significant strides this season to aggressiveness.
Playing a part, too, in Steward earning the 16th Region Tournament Most Valuable Player award was the lack of nerves, which were nearly overwhelming at times a year ago.
Central's 15th Region reign continues
Once was good.
Twice was nice.
Three was sweet for the Johnson Central Eagles.
Senior Slade McPeek scored 22 points and earned most valuable player honors Tuesday night as Johnson Central rolled past Shelby Valley, 81-56, for its third straight 15th Region championship at the East Kentucky Expo Center.
- Fleming goes for two: Panthers beat Ashland for 16th Region repeat Fleming County pulled away early and never looked back as the Panthers pounced on Ashland, winning 82-59 in the 16th Region championship game on Tuesday in Morehead. Fleming County will face Scott County in the Sweet Sixteen next Wednesday at Rupp Arena.
VIDEO: 16th Region semifinals highlights
Fleming County defeated Lewis County, 66-58, and Ashland beat Greenup County, 81-61, on Monday night at Morehead State University to set up tonight's championship matchup. Tipoff is set for 7.
Ashland cruises past Greenup to 16th Region championship game
Tyler Stewart is known for his unrelenting hustle as one of Ashland’s glue guys.
When the senior guard can pitch in some offense too, as he did Monday in the 16th Region Tournament semifinals, that’s just one more problem for Tomcats opponents.
Stewart scored 20 points, senior Steven Friley posted a double-double with 21 points and 14 rebounds, and Ashland outscored Greenup County 21-9 in the third quarter to break open what was a seven-point game at halftime and cruise past the Musketeers, 81-61.
Fleming battles back to 16th Region final
A healthy Wilder Williams this season has given Fleming County a whole new dimension.
Prior to his sophomore year, Williams sustained a football injury that resulted in three ankle surgeries and limited him to bench duty last season while the Panthers made their run to the 16th Region championship.
A physical 6-foot-3 player, Williams is making his presence felt around the basket as Fleming County looks to return to the Sweet Sixteen.
AARON SNYDER: Will the next hero be unmasked?
Who will the bat signal shine for tonight?
Or, should I say, the Cat signal?
In the third installment of a trilogy that might rival the Batman three-pack of “Batman Begins,” “The Dark Knight” and “The Dark Knight Rises,” Fleming County and Ashland will battle in a matchup that has produced a classic clash in each of the last two 16th Region Tournaments.
If the first two collectively served as a gradual progressions to tonight’s scene, the climax could be off the charts.
Corey Gregg was Ashland’s superhero in 2012, when the senior confidently fired a perfect 3-point shot from the right corner. The triple thrust the Tomcats and Panthers into overtime, from which Ashland emerged 79-73 in a first-round game.
Central wins, Lawrence falls in 15th
The biggest concern for Lawrence County coach Josh Cook was staying out of foul trouble.
His team stayed in it all night, and it cost them a spot in the 15th Region title game.
Shelby Valley senior Tyler Carr led four players in double figures with 19 points as the Wildcats knocked off Lawrence County, 72-60, in the semifinals of the 15th Region Tournament at the East Kentucky Expo Center.
“This one hurts,” said Cook. “We’ll learn from this, and I have no doubt that our kids will get back here and finish the job.”
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