Daily Independent (Ashland, KY)

January 24, 2013

Boyle, Hutchinson stick together for college ball

GCHS teammates sign with Campbellsville

Rocky Stanley
The Independent

LLOYD — Greenup County’s baseball program has sent more than a dozen players to the college ranks during Greg Logan’s stint as head coach.

It’s a little different for seniors Seth Boyle and Zach Hutchinson.

On Wednesday afternoon, the pitcher and catcher signed Letters of Intent with Campbellsville University, a perennial NAIA Top 25 contender.

“Out of about 16, this is the first time we’ve had two kids going to the same place at the same time,” Logan said. “They played together their whole high school careers together. I think they are best friends. It’s got to be special for them.”

Indeed. Both players described it as “Pretty awesome.”

They didn’t actually plan to wind up at the same college. It just worked out that way for the two All-Area selections and outstanding students.

“It’s going to be fun,” Hutchinson said.

First, the Musketeers’ third-year starting catcher attended a baseball camp at Campbellsville. An assistant coach invited him back for a workout.

“I got a tour of the campus,” Hutchinson said. “He asked me about our (Greenup County) pitchers. Seth came down and liked it.”

Boyle ended up throwing a bullpen session.

“I went up and gave it a try,” he said. “They offered me a scholarship right then.”

Beauford Sanders, now in his 23rd year as head coach at Campbellsville, attended the double signing at GCHS. Sanders said he was caught off guard by the size of the crowd, which included many  students, family members, coaches and administrators.

“You are getting two quality young men,” Logan told Sanders in front of the audience. “As soon as they walk across the stage and get their diplomas, they will be yours. For now, we will try to get everything we can out of them.”

Greenup County hopes to make a run at the 16th Region championship this season after an uncommon first-round district tournament loss last year. The Musketeers graduated only one starter from a 19-17 team.

Boyle was a freshman on Greenup County’s last State Tournament team. He ended that season as the starting third baseman.

“We put Seth there in the first game of the district,” Logan recalled. “That was his first varsity experience. We went as far as we could, getting to the second record at state. Seth made every play. He never booted a ball.”

Boyle followed up with a productive sophomore season and was probably the Musketeers’ No. 1 pitcher as a junior, according to Logan.

He made 10 pitching appearances, striking out 58 batters in 51 innings while posting a 2.61 earned run average. Those numbers didn’t always translate into wins as Boyle suffered three 1-0 defeats — two against eventual Ohio state champion Wheelersburg and another to traditionally strong Cabell Midland of West Virginia.

Offensively, Boyle served as a catalyst by hitting .392, scoring 25 runs and driving in 21. He banged out 47 hits while striking out only 10 times.    

“Seth was our best offensive player, and he throws the ball well,” Hutchinson said. “He’s gained a ton of velocity. Wherever I set up, he hits that spot.”

Hutchinson, team captain as a junior, is the latest standout catcher at Greenup County. Along with his defensive and leadership skills, Hutchinson finished his junior year with a .426 on-base percentage.

He also helped out on the mound, pitching 24 2/3 innings with a 1.22 ERA.

“Coaching these two has been a blessing and an honor,” Logan said. “Both have a great support system at home and carry themselves well.”

Sanders said he considers both to be excellent fits for Campbellsville.

“It’s nice when you can bring in people with great character and strong academic backgrounds who can play, too,” said Sanders, who has guided the Tigers to 677 wins and a long list of conference championships.

Boyle and Hutchinson started their senior year with a bang. They played key roles as Greenup County pulled a major surprise by winning the school’s first regional soccer championship.

ROCKY STANLEY can be reached at rstanley@dailyindependent.com or (606) 326-2671.