TheTimesTribune.com, Corbin, KY

Local Sports

April 30, 2013

Youth Movement

Young Panthers continue to improve as regular season begins to wind down

KNOX CENTRAL — If you ask Knox Central baseball coach Brandon Hillard, attitude is everything.

Though his squad sits at 12-14 on the season, the Panthers are 3-0 in district play, which means his team has the No. 1 seed for the upcoming 51st District Tournament.

When the season started, Hillard said that he felt like his was the team to beat in the district and that the Panthers would do all they could to have a say in the 13th Region Tournament.

With just nine games remaining in the regular season, Hillard is still preaching the importance of a positive attitude to his players.

“It’s all about attitude and I think our kids are starting to believe that they can play with anybody on the schedule,” Hillard said. “I told my boys the other day that the man who believes in nothing can lead nothing and I truly believe that.

“If our kids will believe in what we’re doing and believe in each other, we can do great things,” he added. “These kids have been a blast to coach lately because they have started to believe in each other and when you have that, it can lead to nothing but wins for your team.”

Though they’ve only had 12 wins on the season, a good number of the 12 have come against some of the region’s top teams in Harlan County, Clay County and Whitley County. The Panthers have also lost their share against regional foes.

Hillard’s squad has hit the ball well, while pitching has also been a strong suit. While the Panthers’ defense has been questionable at times, he said the team has improved of late and says experience and getting used to the level of play is a big reason.

“At the beginning of the year, the speed of the game and the power of the hitters definitely changed compared to what they were used to,” Hillard said. “Early on, we were bitten by the error bug a little too often, but as of late we have improved quite a bit.

“I think the improvements came as a result of being on the field and just getting used to the speed,” he added.

As far as pitching goes, the Panthers have a team ERA of 3.91, something Hillard is especially proud of, considering the youth of the squad and the level of competition his team has faced.

“Pitching has been great for us this year with a team ERA under four,” Hillard said.  “With the amount of young kids we have thrown out there, that’s something that I’m really proud of as a coach.

“Aaron Patterson has pitched great for us as a junior and that’s the kind of leadership you look for out of kids,” he added.

When it comes to hitting the baseball, Hillard said his team is starting to make strides at the plate and understanding roles and certain situations.

Jake Nelson and Hunter Mcright lead the team in hitting, with batting averages of .387 and .309, respectively, and 15 RBIs apiece.

“Jake (Nelson) and Hunter (Mcright) have done well for us from the start of the season and some other guys are starting to come around,” Hillard said. “If the other guys continue to progress like they have, when we put it all together, we’re going to be pretty good.”

As the season winds down, Hillard said the one thing he will no longer accept is the excuse that his team is young. With the number of games so far this season, he said there comes a time when players must learn accountability and there’s no time like the present.

“The easy way out is to constantly say that we’re a young team,” Hillard said. “I appreciate everyone letting us off the hook with that, but at some point you have to grow and accept responsibility.

“These guys can either do that now, or wait until they are seniors and there’s no time to do anything about it,” he added. “Hopefully we continue to progress and get better as the season winds down.”

1
Text Only
Local Sports
  • Tripped Up: Tough loss follows Saturday's walk-off win

    By Chris Parsons
    Sports Editor
    BOWLING GREEN — The Corbin Little League All Stars began the 2014 State Tournament with as exciting a finish as any baseball fan could hope for, but struggled on day two, falling to 1-1 after the first two days.

    July 21, 2014

  • Comeback Effort: Knox County recovers from 24-0 loss, grabs 4-2 win in pool play

    By Chris Parsons
    Sports Editor
    BOWLING GREEN — After what could have turned in to a demoralizing 24-0 loss to Eastern to start State Tournament pool play Saturday, the Knox County 11-year-old All Stars recovered nicely Sunday, picking up a 4-2 win over Paintsville.

    July 21, 2014

  • 0702 TEAM JUMP FOR WEB.jpg Ready To Roll

    After a 6-0 run through the loser’s bracket of the District 4 Tournament, the only thing left for the Corbin Little League All Stars to do is pack their bags and get to Bowling Green.

    July 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • 0718 NORTH TEAM FOR WEB.jpg Passing Grade

    For many years, Chris Larkey’s North Laurel Jaguar football program has been known for its running attack, but with the way things went during the Union College 7-on-7 Passing Tournament, the Jaguars may be shedding the “ground game” label.

    July 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • LIKE IT OR NOT: MLB's All Star effort was a bust

    With the 85th edition of Major League Baseball’s All-Star game in the books, I have to say I feel like the whole thing was a complete bust.

    July 18, 2014

  • 0707 KNOX WINS.jpg Eyes On The Prize

    The Knox County 11-year-old All-Stars have a tall task ahead of them, but head coach Jason Hembree said he feels like the team will be ready to go when the state tournament starts Saturday in Bowling Green.

    July 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • Fresh Start

    First-year coach Jason Chappell isn’t any stranger when it comes to challenges. He helped guide the South Laurel Cardinal football program to a couple of playoff appearances after seeing his South Laurel squad win only three games during his first year as Cardinal coach.

    July 17, 2014

  • THE WAY IT IS: Some local teams can make a run

    Well folks, our Little League All-Star action is beginning to wind down, and I’ve been fortunate enough to see two of the Tri-County’s resp

    July 17, 2014

  • 0326 whs tennis.jpg Smashing Win

    March 28, 2014 1 Photo

  • Whitley County knocks off B'ville, 7-0

    March 28, 2014

Front page
Featured Ads
AP Video
Raw: Israel Bombs Multiple Targets in Gaza Veteran Creates Job During High Unemployment Raw: Cargo Craft Undocks From Space Station Widow: Jury Sent Big Tobacco a $23B Message New Orleans Plans to Recycle Cigarette Butts UN Security Council Calls for MH 17 Crash Probe Obama Bestows Medal of Honor on NH Veteran Texas Sending National Guard Troops to Border Hopkins to Pay $190M After Pelvic Exams Taped Foxx Cites Washington 'Circus Mirror' NASA Ceremony Honors Moon Walker Neil Armstrong Obama Voices Concern About Casualties in Mideast Diplomacy Intensifies Amid Mounting Gaza Toll AP Exclusive: American Beaten in Israel Speaks Obama Protects Gay, Transgender Workers Raw: Gaza Rescuers Search Rubble for Survivors Raw: International Team Inspects MH17 Bodies Raw: 25 Family Members Killed in Gaza Airstrike US Teen Beaten in Mideast Talks About Ordeal 'Weird Al' Is Wowed by Album's Success
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
Twitter Updates
Follow us on twitter
Facebook
SEC Times-Tribune