TheTimesTribune.com, Corbin, KY

Local Sports

July 30, 2012

Bringing It Home

Knox County coach Scott Payne says winning state championship hasn't sunk in yet

CORBIN — By Les Dixon / Sports Editor

How did Knox County 11-year-old coach Scott Payne celebrate his team’s state championship?

As soon as his team won the state title on Friday, he and his family decided to hit the road and take a vacation to Orlando, Fla. Saturday to relax and have some fun in the sun without worrying about whether his team was going to win or not.

“Man, I tell you, it’s a great way to enjoy the state championship,” he admitted. “It feels like I’ve had a ton of bricks lifted off of me. It’s a great feeling.

“We’re at Universal Studios right now and it’s a blast,” he added. “We had a great time in the state tournament last week and now it’s time to take a break.”

Even though he’s taking a break, Payne said it hasn’t kept the Knox County All-Stars from looking ahead to next year in the 11 & 12-year-old division.

“The kids had already talked about that,” he admitted. “It’s going to be tougher to win it in the 11 & 12-year-old (division), but we’re going to try and see what happens.

“We know we’ll have a target on our backs next season, but that comes with winning a state championship,” Payne said. “It would be the ultimate dream come true, if we could do that next year.”

Payne quickly went back to this year’s accomplishments and he admitted winning a state title hasn’t sunk in just yet.

“It really hasn’t for me or my players,” he said. “It probably won’t set in for a while, to be honest. Our kids probably don’t realize what they’ve accomplished, but I’m sure they will when they get older. It was a great accomplishment for them.”

Knox County won the state championship this past Friday by defeating Franklin Simpson at Prestonsburg’s Stone Crest Field, 7-2.

Knox County jumped out to a 3-0 lead and put the game away after a two-run homer by Tucker Holland. Payne’s squad posted an impressive 5-0 record during state tournament play while outscoring their opponents, 61-10 during the process.

“This is a special group of kids and they never quit,” Payne said after his team won the state championship on Friday. “I really can’t put it into words of how big this is. To come from a small town like Barbourville and go up against teams that have 300 to 400 kids in their Little League programs is huge. It’s an honor to just be here. It’s really a special time and for us to accomplish this is huge.”

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