What Owensboro Catholic High School has been able to accomplish on the softball diamond the past dozen years is nothing short of amazing — and the beat goes on…..Currently, Catholic is ranked No. 1 in the state of Kentucky and No. 14 nationally…..The Lady Aces won fastpitch state championships in 1998, 1999, 2003, 2005 and 2009…..Two Owensboro Catholic players, Megan Jolly in 2004 and Meagan Aull in 2007, won Kentucky’s coveted Miss Softball award…..Kara Houston, who spearheaded the team’s first two fastpitch titles, was Gatorade Player of the Year in Kentucky as a senior in ’99…..Also, Elizabeth Church (2003), Haleigh Ashworth (2005) and Martina Riney (2009) were named State Tournament Most Valuable Player…..And, in 2007, Olivia Randolph was selected Kentucky’s Class 2-A Player of the Year…..All of this has been accomplished under the direction of head coach George Randolph, a future KHSAA Hall of Famer, to be sure.
Through 14 games of the 2010 baseball season, the Apollo High School Eagles stand 8-6 – a record not likely to strike fear in the hearts of Kentucky’s best teams…..The Eagles, however, have a shot at greatness this year, and they displayed such potential in Tuesday night’s 21-2 rout of Owensboro at Eagle Park…..Up and down the Apollo lineup are solid, aggressive hitters, the likes of which no other team in the 3rd Region possesses…..There are no easy outs in this lineup, and, while the team’s pitching and defense are still in their developmental stages, such offensive firepower could carry Apollo a long, long way in the postseason…..Moreover, you can bet that the Eagles’ defense and mound work will improve as the season progresses…..Veteran head coach Bob Mantooth is a stickler for constant improvement, and it says here the Eagles will evolve into one of the state’s most complete teams by the time postseason play rolls around….Apollo has a nice mix of speed and power, veteran players and potential-laden youngsters…..The Eagles will be a “tough out” when it counts later this spring.
Western Kentucky University’s baseball team is enjoying a season of historic proportions this spring…..The Hilltoppers enter the new week 26-8 overall, 12-3 in the Sun Belt Conference, and ranked No. 19 in America…..The Toppers feature a pair of Apollo High School products in senior first baseman Jake Wells and sophomore infielder Logan Robbins…..Wells is batting .290 with a homer and 23 RBIs. He has 11 doubles and has scored 30 runs…..Robbins, hot as of late, is hitting .203 with three homers, 15 RBIs, and 13 stolen bases in 14 attempts…..As a team, WKU is batting .318 with 35 home runs in 34 games…..Major-League prospect Matt Ridings, a veteran right-hander, is 7-0 with a 3.46 earned run average to lead the Hilltopper mound staff..;..Former Edmonson County star Rye Davis has been superb out of the bullpen with a 2-0 record, a 0.98 ERA and a team-best seven saves.
Kentucky’s horrendous 3-point shooting came home to roost at the NCAA Tournament East Regional in Syracuse, N.Y…..After going 2-for-16 from 3-point range in Thursday’s win over Cornell, the Wildcats made just 4-of-32 from beyond the arc in tonight’s 73-66 loss to West Virginia……That’s a collective 6-for-48 on 3s for the regional, and that’s just not going to get it done.
Trailing by 10 with 7:30 to play, it’s likely that Kentucky will have to get hot from 3-point range in the final minutes to overhaul the Mountaineers….UK is certainly due, having missed their first 18 attempts….West Virginia has been the more mature and (far) more composed team tonight….Frustration is showing on the faces of UK’s players, coaches, and, yes, fans…..Can John Calipari pull a rabbit out of his hat down the stretch? We’re about to find out….The Carrier Dome is filled with cries of “Let’s Go Mountaineers!” with 6:17 left to play.
Kentucky has offered little resistence to West Virginia left-handed guard Joe Mazzulla, who is driving the lane at will on the Wildcats…..UK is offering no help on defense and is not forcing the gutty Mazzulla to use his right hand…..The Wildcats seem uncommonly out of sorts at the defensive end……Also, Kentucky simply can’t buy a 3-point basket (0-for-13)…..UVA 47-36 with just over 12 minutes to play…..Someone must step up in a big way for UK down the stretch or there will be no Final Four trip.
Kentucky scored five straight points to pull within 36-31 at 15:50, but West Virginia answered with layups from Devin Ebanks and Joe Mazzulla, who drove the lane for his second uncontested (no help defense) layup of the game….UK looks incredibly shaky with 14:37 to play and West Virginia in front 40-31….but there’s still a lot of time left…..Kentucky is far from finished.