CORBIN — When Rob Ledington took over as head coach of the Lynn Camp Wildcat baseball program two years ago, he knew he would be in rebuild mode.
After winning only two games during his first year, and seven this past season, the program continues to head in the right direction.
Ledington said his goal entering the season was to be better than the year before.
“Sounds simple, but we're just trying to improve day by day, year by year,” Ledington said. “This will take time, patience, and resources.
“We won two ball games last year, and seven this year, and frankly should have won 12 or 13,” he added. “I saw tremendous improvement in spite of our record. Of the eight teams in this year’s regional tournament, we played six of them. Two of those games stand out to me, the Knox Central game, it was 2-1 through five innings, and the Middlesboro game, which we led 7-5 going into the seventh inning. Even though we lost all of these games, it was great experience for our kids to see where they need to improve to be competitive with the top teams in our region.”
Ledington feels his team continues to head into the right direction, and believes his program has important resources in place that will continue to help Lynn Camp be successful.
“In my opinion, we have one of the top three facilities in the region, a Superintendent (Kelly Sprinkles) and a principle (Anthony Pennington), who genuinely support and understand the overall importance of athletics,” Ledington said. “I believe we have an excellent coaching staff with many years of experience, who have assisted many players in reaching next level baseball, both collegiately and professionally.
“The only resource we are lacking are a few more players,” he added. “Unfortunately, there are many good players in the surrounding area who aren't getting to play due to the sheer volume of players. If, and when, some of these kids decide they want an opportunity to play, we will really begin to see tremendous improvement. Ultimately, it's all about players.”
Ledington said three players stood out immediately when it came to helping his team to some success this past season.
“They never played an inning of JV or high school baseball until this season — Cam and Spencer Gilbert (brothers), who transferred from Corbin to play football. Once they arrived at Lynn Camp, I asked them to come out and help us with their athleticism. Cam became our second leading hitter, while Spencer became a valuable infielder and pitcher for us.
“Trevor Byrge played third base, and pitched for us and did a fantastic job for a young man who has never played before,” he added. “Eric Mitchell will be greatly missed. He’s a great young man, student, and athlete. He was an absolute joy to coach. He was our No. 1 pitcher, and a quality outfielder and hitter. Chase Brown is a tremendous athlete. He’s fast, strong, and has the potential to become one of the top players in the region next year with continued work on his swing. And lastly my son, Luke, who led us in virtually every offensive category, and played wherever we needed him last year, including pitcher.”
With the talent he returns, Ledington admitted he likes his team’s chances of improving and competing in the 51st District in 2020.
“Absolutely,” he said. “The experience and physical maturity will definitely reveal itself next year, and the top two teams in our district, Knox Central, and Barbourville, both graduated a lot of kids, which helps.”