For Kentucky, it’s another weekend to move forward

By DOUG EADS

Well, we’ve all had a week to discuss PJ Washington’s foot injury, and wonder whether or not he will be available for Kentucky moving forward in the NCAA Basketball Tournament.

Tonight in Kansas City, all the speculation will come to an end and we’ll get the answer to that question, as the Cats square off against the Houston Cougars in a Sweet 16 matchup.

Will this be a tough game for Kentucky with or without Washington?



Sure it will be. Houston is a 33-3 team, and this is the Sweet 16 round of the NCAA Tournament. Any game moving forward for any team should be a tough game.

This game is not a cupcake by any means, but I do think Kentucky will prevail, and yes, with or without PJ Washington.

If I had to guess, I think PJ plays tonight. How much and how effective he will be remains to be seen, but I do think he will play.

But, let’s change gears for just a moment.

We all know Tyler Herro and Keldon Johnson and Reid Travis will be playing this evening, and that’s a dilemma for the Cougars. Yes, Houston you have a problem.

What about the defense Herro played on Wofford’s Fletcher Magee last Saturday in round two of the tourney?

Are you kidding me? He held the most prolific three-point shooter in the history of college basketball to an 0-12 day from downtown.

I love Herro. I love everything about his game. He’s just a ‘baller’, and he proved last week that he can help his team win on either end of the floor.



Keldon Johnson and Reid Travis are both men on the inside and down in the paint, and they will present problems tonight for a smaller Houston team.

Ashton Hagans is as good as any point guard in America at running a team, and I often have wondered where we would be without him and the development he has shown over the course of the season.

And, look at how well Jamarl Baker played last week, by scoring eight points off the UK bench; and we needed every one of those big plays and those points from Baker.

The bottom line is this. I hope PJ is close to 100 percent, and I hope he plays tonight like he did throughout the course of this season.

Whether he does or not remains to be seen. However, I picked Kentucky to make it to the Final Four in Minneapolis before this season ever started, and I’m not going back on that prediction tonight.

With or without PJ, I think the Cats will find a way to prevail over Houston tonight, and will get across the finish line first.

I just hope it’s by more than just a foot.



Pulaski County extends win streak by topping Lady Warriors

By DOUG EADS

The Pulaski County Lady Maroon softball team has been on a roll after beginning the season with a loss to Mercer County.

On Thursday afternoon, Brad Gover and crew improved to 6-1 on the season and extended their winning streak to six games, and it came at the expense of arch-rival Southwestern.

Hosting the Lady Warriors at PC Field, Gover’s club got an outstanding effort on the mound from Kaylee Strunk, en route to a 3-1 triumph over Southwestern.



“Well, it was a little closer (game) that what I would have liked, but I’ll take it,” stated a very happy PC coach after the game.

“I think we stranded too many runners and we gambled a little bit in the first inning, but I credit Southwestern with making a good play,” Gover added. “I thought Kaylee Strunk threw an excellent game and she is only going to get better. She’s getting more comfortable and more confident in every inning , and that’s one of the most exciting things that a coach can see at this point of the season.”

Strunk went the distance in Thursday’s win for PC, throwing seven innings, allowing Southwestern six hits, while fanning seven batters and walking none.

Meanwhile at the plate, the Lady Maroons did just enough for the win.

Molli Nelson had a big day with a 3-3 performance, while Eva Gover went 2-3 at the plate with 3 RBI.

Riley Hull and Dawn Wilson each added hits in the win, for a PC team that has now won those six games in row.

Both teams will return to action today, and will be on their home fields.

Pulaski County will welcome in the McCreary Central Lady Raiders at 6 p.m., while Southwestern — now 4-4 on the season with Thursday’s loss — will host Casey County at 6 p.m.





Warriors blank Pulaski County in five inning affair

By DOUG EADS

Southwestern and Pulaski County met on the diamond for the first time on Saturday afternoon, and while the game only lasted five innings due to the mercy rule, Jeffrey Madden and the homestanding Warriors only needed one inning to put the Maroons away.

Madden belted a two-run homer to right center field in the home half of the first inning, and that followed a two-run blast from third baseman Noah Helton earlier in the frame off of PC starter Jace Lancaster.

Thanks to being staked to a very quick 4-0 cushion over the Maroons after only one inning of play, Madden and the Warriors remained perfect on the young season, with a 10-0 triumph over PC in a game shortened to five innings.



“Whether you want to admit it or not, these cross-town rivalry games are a little different, and they should be different, because they mean a little more,” stated Warrior head coach Alex Eaton, after his club moved to 4-0 on the season with the win.

“There’s a little more pride in these games, and I was awfully pleased with the way (Jeffrey) Madden came out and attacked the zone and went after their hitters,” added the Southwestern skipper.

While Madden — along with Helton — did big-time damage at the plate in that decisive first inning for Southwestern, the story of the day for the Warriors was the job Madden did on the mound in five innings of work.

The senior hurler only allowed Pulaski County a pair of hits on the day — one coming on an infield single off the bat of Drew Polston — while fanning 10 Maroon hitters over those five innings of work.

Not wanting to take anything at all away from Madden or his performance in the contest, PC head coach Josh Anderson lamented afterwards that he didn’t think his team came out ready to play or compete against one of its arch-rivals.

“Not a whole lot to say,” stated Anderson immediately following the game.

“We didn’t show up to play and Southwestern did,” added the PC coach. “You have to show up with intensity and ready to compete at a high level against every opponent, especially against good teams, or you will get what we got today. Good teams will put you away early if you’re not ready. We will have to keep working and hopefully be better as the season progresses.”

After that four-run first inning on the strength of those two long bombs, the Warriors and Madden were cruising along with a 4-0 lead, until breaking this one wide open by tacking on three more runs in the bottom of the fourth off of Lancaster.



And, once again it came courtesy of the long ball.

Tanner McBryde took Lancaster deep to right field with another two-run shot — the Warriors third two-run homer of the day — extending the advantage out to 7-0 at that juncture.

The Warriors had scored a lone run earlier in the frame thanks to an RBI ground out off the bat of Ethan Jones.

Southwestern then put this one away with a three-spot in the home half of the fifth inning, thanks to a bases loaded walk off of reliever Alex Acey, and an RBI ground out from Tanner McKee, and a run-scoring single by Jones.

The win moved the Warriors to 4-0 on the season, while PC with the loss fell to 3-2 on the year.

Both teams will return to action on Monday afternoon, as PC will travel to Berea to face Madison Southern at 5:30 p.m., while the Warriors will be back at home at 6 p.m. to host Campbellsville.

PC — 0 0 0 0 0 — 0  2 5

SW — 4 0 0 3 3 — 10 6 0



2B — SW — Helton

HR — SW — Helton, Madden, T. McBryde

RBI — SW — Madden 2, Jones 2, Helton 2, T. McBryde 2, McKee, Howard.

WP — Madden

LP — Lancaster



Scores from the diamond from Tuesday

By DOUG EADS

With this being the first week of spring, action on the diamond is now in full swing at the high school level.

On Tuesday afternoon in local baseball action, the Somerset Briar Jumpers traveled to Russell County and suffered their first loss of the season, falling to the homestanding Lakers by a 3-1 score, dropping Phil Grundy’s club to 1-1 on the year.

At home, both Southwestern and Pulaski County remained undefeated, with each improving to 2-0 on the young season.



The Warriors won for the second night in a row, topping Adair County by a final score of 4-2, while the Maroons edged Campbellsville by a 4-3 margin.

In softball, the Southwestern Lady Warriors evened their record to 1-1 on the year with an 11-4 win over Lincoln County, while Pulaski County fell in its season opener at home, dropping a 15-7 decision to Mercer County in a high-scoring affair.

On Thursday in baseball action, Somerset will play at home for the first time this season hosting Whitley County at 6 p.m. at Charlie Taylor Field.

Pulaski County meanwhile will travel to London to face North Laurel, and Southwestern will travel to Clinton County.

In softball action on Thursday, the Somerset Lady Jumpers will try to bounce back from Monday’s season-opening loss at Bryan Station, as David Dorsey’s club will travel to South Laurel to face the Lady Cardinals.

Meanwhile, PC will try to get into the win column with a home game against Whitley County at 6 p.m., while Southwestern will travel to Clinton County.



Somerset knocks off Raiders in season opener

By DOUG EADS

STEARNS — The Somerset Briar Jumpers opened the 2019 high school baseball season on Monday afternoon on the road, and thanks to scoring four unanswered runs over the game’s final four innings, Phil Grundy’s club made its season debut a successful one, with a 7-3 win at McCreary Central.

Dakota Acey got the start on the mound for the Briar Jumpers, logging four innings for Somerset, with six strikeouts.

Meanwhile, at the plate Somerset banged out 11 hits in the win, led by Kade Grundy who had three hits on the day and two runs driven in.



Gavin Stephens and Chance Stayton each added two hits, while Alex Ham tallied an RBI.

With the game tied up at 3-3 through three innings of play, Somerset took control of this one by scoring two runs in the top of the fourth frame, and tacking on lone runs in the fifth and seventh innings.

The Briar Jumpers — 1-0 on the year — will be in action this afternoon on the road at Russell County.

Somerset will host Whitley County on Thursday of this week at Charlie Taylor Field in its home opener.



Lady Warriors fall to Ryle in state title game

By DOUG EADS

LEXINGTON — The Southwestern Lady Warriors made their first trip ever to the Girl’s Sweet 16 State Basketball Tournament at Rupp Arena this week, and for Stephen Butcher and crew, it was a magical ride indeed.

After defeating Collins, North Laurel, and Louisville Male, the Lady Warriors stood just one win away from a state championship on Sunday afternoon.

However, a powerhouse from northern Kentucky — the Ryle Lady Raiders — had other ideas.



Ryle forced the Lady Warriors into 20 turnovers for the game, and shot 55 percent from the field, hitting on 22-40 field goal attempts.

The Lady Raiders raced out to a 33-14 lead over Southwestern by halftime, and withstood a mini-Lady Warrior rally in the third quarter, coming away with a 63-48 win over Southwestern.

Regi Cundiff paced Southwestern — who  finished the season with a 27-6 record — with 16 points in the loss, while Kallie Sheron joined her in double figures with 13.

The Lady Raiders meanwhile — champion of the 9th Region — finished the season with a 33-5 mark.

Southwestern was trying to extend the 12th Region’s winning streak in state title games to three in a row heading into the game, as Mercer County came into this season as the two-time defending state champion.

The Lady Warriors figure to be a legitimate contender again next season, as four of Southwestern’s starters return next season, with the exception of Sheron — the Lady Warriors lone senior starter.



Southwestern advances to Sweet 16 championship game

By DOUG EADS

LEXINGTON — Just one more win to a state championship.

That’s where the Southwestern Lady Warriors found themselves after Saturday night at Rupp Arena.

Stephen Butcher’s club — fresh off a 52-42 win over Louisville Male in the semi finals on Saturday evening — only had the Ryle Lady Raiders standing in the way of a first, and improbable state title.



Southwestern’s remarkable post-season run began almost a month ago in the 48th District Tournament, and last night at Rupp Arena the Lady Warriors showed no sign of slowing down any time soon.

Trailing the Male Lady Bulldogs 32-31 at the end of three quarters of play last night, Southwestern took control of the contest by beginning the final period on a 13-0 run.

After that flurry — despite a late-Male run — Southwestern would ice the game away at the free throw line.

Kallie Sheron led Southwestern in the win with 16 points, while Regi Cundiff joined her in double figures with 11 points.

The Lady Warriors — 27-5 on the season — will play in their final game Sunday at 2 p.m. at Rupp Arena, facing the Lady Raiders of Ryle High School in the Sweet 16 State Championship Game.

Ryle — 32-5 on the season — punched its ticket to the state title game by winning Saturday night’s first semi final game with a 55-43 win over Owensboro Catholic.

Southwestern will be vying to make it three state titles in row from the 12th Region, as Mercer County came into this year as the two-time defending state champions.