By Tim Branstetter / Staff Writer
The Corbin 11 & 12-year-old All-Stars might be the only baseball team that is asked to keep up with a football helmet, but that helmet has a special place in their hearts.
Corbin coach Chad Estep and his team decided to honor Ethan Smith after he lost his life due to a brain tumor on Thursday, July 5.
“We take his football helmet with us every time we practice or play a game and the kids rub that helmet before they play,” Estep said. “Every night a different kid takes the helmet home.”
Estep feels having the helmet with them is not only a way to honor Smith, but it also serves as a reminder to the kids just how precious life really is.
“We are trying to keep his memory alive and do things with his name, even though he is no longer with us,” Estep said. “It allows our kids to keep in perspective how important life is. Over time those kids have become aware of how fortunate they are to be playing baseball.”
Smith was only 10, but most of the kids on the Corbin All-Stars had been in contact with him through sports or school.
“You are usually known for what team you play for,” Estep said. “Ethan was a Saint, but he has probably been a Saint in more ways than one to these kids. Even though he is gone he has helped these kids stay focused and he’s as attached to their lives as much as they were to his.”
Most kids that play sports have a hard time keeping up with their shoes, helmets or gloves, but Estep has been surprised with the maturity that his All-Stars have shown.
“I never expected a group of 12-year-old kids to become so emotionally attached to something, but they have,” he said. “Most of them can’t keep up with their own stuff, but they keep up with that helmet.”
The Corbin All-Stars got off to a tough start and suffered a loss, but they have turned things around since bringing the helmet to their games.
They have reeled off six-straight wins and have found themselves in the championship game tonight at 7 p.m. against the Knox County All-Stars.
Knox County has not lost a game, so the Corbin All-Stars have to find a way to pick up two wins to claim the title.
Anything is possible in sports and we have all seen the movie, “Angels in the Outfield,” but win or lose there is no doubt that the Corbin All-Stars will have a little Saint in the outfield as they compete for the championship.
Corbin 11 & 12-year-old Al Stars honor Ethan Smith
- Local Sports
The Williamsburg Yellow Jackets are partying like it's 1987! That was the last time the Jackets won a game in the 13th Region Tournament, and they ended the 27-year drought with a 47-44 win over the heavily-favored Knox Central Panthers on Thursday night.
Les Dixon's Daily Region Pick'Em
When it comes to picking region tournament games, it’s not an easy task to say the least. This is the most parity that I’ve ever seen in the 13th Region Boys and Girls Tournaments.
If Clay County’s play during the first game of the 13th Region Tournament is any indication of things to come, Robert Marcum’s squad could be well on its way of capturing their second straight 13th Region championship.
The Way it is
Since I’m picking Corbin to pull off the upset against Jackson County today, I figured I’d give my top five upsets dating back to 2005-06 when the 13th realigned and welcomed both North and South Laurel high schools to the mix.
Tony Pietrowski’s Corbin Redhounds have been favored during the past two first round 13th Region match-ups, and have been upset both times. Corbin is hoping things might change a bit this time around.
Barbourville will have hands full against Bell County today
Dinky Phipps’ Barbourville Tigers are looking for their first 13th Region Tournament win dating back to 2006’s tournament when they defeated Clay County in the regional semifinals.
Like It or Not
There’s an elephant in the room at this year’s 13th Region Tournament, and really in basketball in general, and I guess I’ll be the first one to point it out (publicly with my name attached to it).
Chris' Daily Region Pick'Em
With the first three days of opening round games in the books, I can honestly say I'm not surprised that I'm 4-2 overall when it comes to my pick'ems record.
You can never count out the Clay County Lady Tigers when it comes to the 13th Region Tournament.
Les Dixon's Daily Region Pick'em
After going just .500 during the girls games, things are going to get even tougher when it comes to picking the 13th Region Boys Tournament games.
- More Local Sports Headlines
- Knoxed Out