Covering high school baseball never felt like a job to Mark Maynard, now the editor of The Independent.
The 56-year-old has always had affection for the sport, but he fell in love with high school baseball in the 1960s, specifically 1965. That’s when something special formed on the field for Ashland Blazer.
Maynard, currently authoring a book about that era called “Tomcat Dynasty,” will be inducted into the Kentucky High School Baseball Coaches Association Hall of Fame. Maynard becomes just the fourth media member into the Hall, joining Mike Fields (Lexington Herald-Leader), Bob White (Louisville Courier-Journal) and Terry Boehmker (The Kentucky Post). The induction ceremony is set for Saturday, Jan. 18.
Also on the 2013 induction list: Steve Roof (coach, Madison Central High School); Scott Willard (coach, Scott County); L.W. Barnes (coach, Anderson County); Johnny Vance (coach, Barren); and Phillip Burkeen (umpire).
Maynard served as a sports writer from 1975 to ’88 and was sports editor from 1989 to 2005. Since, he has held the positions of managing editor and editor.
As a youngster, Maynard found himself being drawn to the diamond by the late-’60s Tomcats, led by Bob and Bill Lynch.
“That’s when it all started for me, even though I wasn’t a writer yet,” Maynard said. “That group of guys drew me into baseball. Writing that book is a way of paying them back.”
Ashland won three state championships in that period.
Maynard mainly covered 16th and 15th Region baseball in his time in sports. He’s racked up plenty of highlights in the memory bank.
He fondly recalls following Boyd County throughout its years under the direction of former Lions head coach Jody Hamilton, a KHSBCA Hall of Famer.
“There were some great Boyd County teams,” said Maynard, specifically pinpointing a pair of memorable Lions’ clubs — Boyd County was the state runner-up after falling to Lafayette in 1988; the Lions won the state title in 2001.
He thought back to Greenup County’s talented teams in the late 1990s under Jeff Wilcox, now Ashland’s coach who also has a spot in the KHSBCA Hall.
“Those were some fun teams to cover, with Aaron McGlone and those guys,” Maynard said.
There was also Brandon Webb, who Maynard kept close tabs on throughout his youth and into adulthood.
“Following a guy’s career all the way from Little League to a Cy Young Award, how cool is that?” he said.
Maynard didn’t want baseball to slide to the back burner.
“One thing I always tried to do was give (baseball players and coaches) a lot of credit, more attention,” he said. “We’ve been fortunate in this area to have really good coaches, good baseball teams and people that really took it serious. They built a great field at Boyd County and now pretty much everybody has a good field.”
Under Maynard’s guidance, The Independent began publishing an All-Area baseball team annually, putting the sport in the company of football and basketball.
As for the company of which Maynard is now part, he is “elated” and “humbled.”
“Somebody has to nominate you, and I just want to say to whoever it was, that I appreciate them very much for doing that,” Maynard said. “This is an honor I never expected but will most definitely treasure.”