For many high school students, the end of spring break signals the onset of depression, laziness and an overall disinterest in school, especially at first.
For seniors, the highly contagious disease known as senioritis roots itself deep within like a hibernating parasite, if it hadn’t already.
Those who avoid all senioritis-like symptoms the longest achieve the most success.
For baseball and softball players, especially those who paid visits to sun-beamed beaches of South Carolina and Florida, it can be an even shakier transition.
Not only do players have to adjust to temperatures dipping into the 50s (by Tuesday) after basking in 80-degree weather, they also have to adapt to not living like major leaguers during spring training.
The kids who had the luxury of traveling south probably had unforgettable experiences, both on and off the field, because of the clubhouse-type camaraderie that goes with it.
Spending six or seven days straight with one another non-stop can either make or break a team. It can bring it substantially closer or cause it to drift apart.
The Shortstop thinks that the teams which bonded the best will rack up the most wins as tournament time approaches, and have some fun along the way.
But, nonetheless, it’s back to the grind for area players. Now is when the seriousness level ratchets up a notch.
‰Ashland’s Logan Salow has just a handful of starts in his pitching career, mostly because he’s been so valuable as the Tomcats’ closer. After a five-inning shutout of Williamsburg, which included 13 strikeouts, Salow may tally up some more starts. By the way, he is a junior, not a senior, much to the dismay of others in the 16th Region and much to the happiness of ’Cats coach Jeff Wilcox. The Shortstop has mistakenly identified Salow as a senior a couple times this season.
‰We’ll see if Ashland softball’s decision to take spring break off backfires this week. The Kittens are 8-0 and have outscored opponents 92-6 this season, but haven’t played since March 30 (a 3-2 win over Wayne, W. Va.). District and region rival Boyd County is next. The Lady Lions are coming off a 6-2 stint in Florida. The teams clash Tuesday evening at Ashland.
‰Ashland Blazer High School is the place to be on Tuesday night. No offense to other area teams, but Tomcats-Lions baseball and Kittens-Lady Lions softball are about as close as you get to must-see during the regular season within the 16th Region.
‰East Carter softball is off to a nice start, at 6-1. This week will allow us to see where the Lady Raiders stand, as a rematch with Rowan County (East took first meeting 12-8) and a road game with Ashland loom.
‰Boyd County junior Emily Stewart was voted by coaches as the region’s top player in a preseason poll. She hasn’t disappointed so far, as she comes off a tremendous week in Florida. She hit better than .600 in eight games down south, according to Lady Lions coach Geoff Stewart.
‰The latest Kentucky High School Baseball Coaches Association Poll has no 16th Region team in the top 25, with Ashland being the only team receiving votes. The Kentucky Softball Coaches Association Poll ranks Ashland 20th with Boyd County receiving a vote.
‰Don’t be discouraged by the “weakness” of 16th Region baseball this year. For one, the parity makes for an engrossing race down the stretch, and two, the beauty of baseball is that even the best teams in the state can be beaten on a given day. So, the State Tournament may very well see a regional representative enter the second round this season.
‰Greenup County baseball’s offense is beginning to hit its stride. Musketeers coach Greg Logan moved Will McCall from the No. 2 spot, where he was hitting behind leadoff hitter Jarred Moore, to the latter half of the lineup. So far it’s paid off. McCall has seven hits in the last three games.
‰Can Lewis County end the Musketeers’ remarkable 63rd District streak tonight? Greenup County hasn’t lost a district game since 2007, winning 34 straight.
‰Russell hosts Lewis County on Tuesday. The Red Devils’ search for a replacement for departed ace Brandon Boyd got a little more enticing this past week after Dylan Howard tossed a gem in a 2-1 loss to West Jessamine. The junior threw a complete game and allowed just three hits.
1. Boyd County (7-5)
2. Ashland (6-3)
3. Greenup County (6-6)
4. Lewis County (7-2)
5. East Carter (8-5)
6. Russell (3-7)
7. Fairview (5-8)
1. Ashland (8-0)
2. Boyd County (9-2)
3. Russell (8-2)
4. East Carter (6-1)
5. Menifee County (7-0)
6. West Carter (4-3)
7. Raceland (4-7)
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Note from the PG
The Independent’s All-Area girls and boys basketball team, voted on by coaches, has been finalized and team photos will take place this week. Look for stories, which will include Players and Coaches of the Year, this coming weekend.
AARON SNYDER can be reached at email@example.com or (606) 326-2664.