With the state baseball and softball tournaments out of the way, there’s plenty to think and talk about when it comes to the last week of play. With that said, here we go…
• State softball mess
I’ll probably take a little bit of heat for what I’m about to say, but I’m going to get started by talking about the state softball tournament.
First things first and that’s the most obvious topic of the past few days — infamous home run/not a home run call during the game between Ashland Blazer and Johnson Central.
With the Lady Eagles trailing, 1-0 in the bottom of the seventh inning, the Lady Eagles’ Rachelle Fairchild hit what all but three people in the ballpark thought was the game-winning home run. After further review, the umpires on the field declared the hit to be a ground-rule double and Johnson Central went on to lose the game, eliminating them from the tournament.
My first thought is that a home run call is one of the easiest in the game (whether its softball or baseball) to make, unless we’re talking about a ball that is close to the fair/foul pole. Add to the fact that there were basically Lego fences set up as outfield walls and I can see how the call could be a tough one. The ball clearly went over the fence and was deemed a home run, but eventually changed.
The KHSAA released a lengthy statement regarding the issue, but that does little regarding the fact that a team was for lack of a better term — cheated — out of the chance to advance to the next round of play.
I don’t know Ashland Blazer’s head coach, but I would like to think that in the spirit of sportsmanship he at least considered speaking up and letting the call stand as it was, as opposed to letting his team advance on a mistake by the umpires.
Hopefully some day the KHSAA will get it right and hold the state softball tournament at a real softball facility instead of the equivalent of Corbin’s Miller Park.
• State baseball tourney
It was no surprise to me when the South Laurel Cardinals advanced to the 2014 Rawlings/KHSAA State Baseball Tournament. I had said all year I thought they were one of the top two or three, if not the best team in the 13th Region this season.
The Cardinals came out and played really solid baseball over the course of the first two rounds, getting complete games from Braden Miller and Austin Vigeant as they advanced to the semifinals. Not only had Wynn Harris’ squad advanced further than any South Laurel team ever had, but his pitching rotation was set up perfectly to make a run on the semifinals and championship game.
The Cardinals ran in to a buzz saw against Simon Kenton and were eliminated in an 11-1 mercy rule loss. I’m sure Harris will wonder what he could have done differently throughout the entire offseason, but with the talent he has coming back next year, he may have another chance to make that state title run.