Due to my 13-year baseball career (yes, that includes T-ball) lacking power numbers (two career home runs, both inside the park), it’s difficult to keep up with the muscle-flexing shortstops in today’s game.
I was always known for my glove and being able to hit for contact, so there was nothing flashy coming from my side of the batter’s box.
That’s OK, because a Monday Morning Shortstop doesn’t have to crank a spherical object with nine inches of circumference into orbit.
The SS will, however, appease your local high school baseball and softball needs by orbiting the bases once a week.
And since I wasn’t much on extra-base hits growing up — although there was one highly memorable one, perhaps more on that later — the SS will enhance his image on paper by being a prose pro.
That’s right, with the Shortstop’s words, the cycle will be achieved — every Monday, a single, double, triple and home run will account for 10 total items of interest.
Forget the Point Guard’s “Dime” and the Quarterback’s, well, what does he even have?
I’m your springtime friend. The birds are already chirping about the Shortstop, and soon you will be too.
Let’s get to it. Batter up!
‰Ashland pitcher Kelsee Hammonds has a new role this season — she’s the ace after Katelyn Miller graduated. While Hammonds has been nothing short of excellent, the Kittens still undoubtedly miss Miller. But an 8-0 start in which they’ve outscored opponents 92-6 has helped diminish the effects of Miller’s departure.
‰The SS doesn’t blame Russell junior Kyle Skaggs for sitting out this baseball season, even though he was an All-Area selection as a sophomore and a trusty leadoff hitter for Coach Mike Martino’s bunch. He sprained his ankle during the 16th Region basketball tournament, and he needs time to rehabilitate it and focus on basketball.
However, there seems to be a trend of more and more student-athletes choosing one sport to “focus on.” It’s not necessary — actually playing another sport can be beneficial in many ways. For one, it keeps that competitive fire going throughout the offseason of the “main sport” and it helps an athlete avoid getting burned out.
‰On the other side of the argument lies a situation such as Cable Wright’s. Wright, a junior at Bath County, was one at-bat away from setting a record last season by reaching base in 25 straight plate appearances. This season, he’ll miss the entire spring after having surgery to repair a torn ACL and meniscus in his knee, which was suffered early in the basketball season. Risks come with the territory of competing in any sport, though.
‰There are a few ways to top Trey Salisbury’s sensational effort against Cabell Midland on Saturday, March 24, but good luck coming up with many. How does 18 strikeouts and zero walks suffice? Salisbury picked up the win in Boyd County’s 4-2 victory. While the Lions are young, the SS is still not convinced they won’t repeat as regional champions. Salisbury will pitch for Eastern Kentucky University next spring.
‰Ashland left-hander Sam Hunter joins Salisbury on the elite list of prime pitchers in the region. Perhaps a worthy candidate for that list, though, is teammate Logan Salow. Salow is the Tomcats’ closer, but don’t be surprised if he gets a start or two down the stretch.
As for Hunter, his goal is to cut down on his wildness. Sometimes he can be deemed as effectively wild, but the tendency to lose control can sometimes backfire, by running up his pitch count or simply walking too many. Still, he’s talented enough to pitch at the next level. Even Kentucky has been in contact with the lefty, but there’s nothing serious there yet, according to Hunter.
‰Fairview may not have a Hunter or a Salisbury, but Austin Rowe and C.J. Leadingham make up a trustworthy duo for Fairview. Unfortunately for the Eagles, they will always have to get past Ashland or Boyd County. Small schools simply have a tougher time of accomplishing big things in baseball than in basketball. The Eagles do possess experience and hitting — Brandon McDaniel is on his way to becoming All-Area caliber, just as Leadingham was last season.
‰Russell softball coach Ron Osborn doesn’t seem like a dramatic guy. In fact, it’s rare to see much emotion at all from the reserved Lady Devils coach.
His players, well, they must thrive on drama. In just eight games — they’re 7-1 — they’ve gone to the last inning with their opponents in three contests.
Osborn doesn’t care, though, as long as they keep winning as they did in those three against Raceland (7-6 score), Johnson Central (6-5) and West Carter (9-6).
‰Greenup County coach Greg Logan was quite optimistic about his Musketeers before the first pitch of the season. Logan shook his head and shrugged his shoulders after they managed just five hits in a 6-2 win over Russell during the opening week.
The offense continues to slump — the Musketeers amassed six hits in 13 innings as they lost to Fairland, 1-0, and beat Rock Hill, 3-1, this past week.
I’m sure Logan is hoping Florida can heat up the bats.
‰The Kittens haven’t lost a regional tournament game since May 27, 2008, so the Shortstop isn’t prepared to pick against them yet. If the heavy hitting continues, it’s tough to sway toward Boyd County just yet. But I do believe it will come down to those two.
‰ The Grayson contingent tuning into WLGC 105.7-FM on Saturday, March 24, was probably ready to adopt me as its own after I proclaimed that “East Carter will win the region” of front of Dicky Tiller, the voice of Boyd County baseball, and Logan, of the Musketeers.
I hate to disappoint, but a 9-4 loss to Lewis County has me back on my heels more than a nasty curve.
The Shortstop must retract the statement, and he’s putting a tarp on his 16th Region baseball prediction. Don’t worry ... the rain delay will be over soon enough.
1. Boyd County (5-2)
2. Greenup County (4-2)
3. Ashland (2-1)
4. Lewis County (6-2)
5. East Carter (5-2)
6. Russell (2-3)
7. Fairview (4-4)
1. Ashland (8-0)
2. Boyd County (3-0)
3. Russell (7-1)
4. Fleming County (4-5)
5. Raceland (4-4)
6. Rowan County (3-4)
7. Menifee County (5-0)
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AARON SNYDER can be reached at email@example.com or (606) 326-2664.