2009 has been Year of Baseball Resurgance
By Jim Turner

Posted on January 1, 0001 12:00 AM

Although the affection poured out this week for UK's John Calipari and Kenny Walker attests that this is still Basketball County, 2009 can easily be classified as the Year of Baseball Resurgence in Logan County.
Baseball has been on a downhill slide here since the breakup of Babe Ruth Baseball as we knew it when a traveling team was created of Russellville Babe Ruth age players in the summer of 2003. The Panthers got very little benefit from the split, since Russellville won only one postseason baseball game in the entire first decade of this century. Logan County High School managed to stay competitive because of superb talent in the classes of 2000, '01, '03, '05 and '07. Since the graduation of that last class, however, the Cougars have struggled the past two seasons, although they have managed to make it to region nine of the ten years of this decade.
Even though this high school season for both schools was lackluster, this summer has been extraordinary. Examples:
1)  LCHS graduate Bryan Fuller made national headlines by pitching 21 
consecutive scoreless innings in a 26-hour span, as the Tigers won three 
straight games to become champions the NAIA Regional Tournament. The 
Lewisburg native pitched the last three innings against host Lindenwood University on Thursday afternoon, nine against Kansas Wesleyan Thursday evening in an 11-0 shutout, and nine in the 4-0 win Friday afternoon. Fuller threw more than 225 pitches in the two-day span.
His feat was so unusual that ESPN dispatched its top special assignment reporter, Jeremy Schapp, to Campbellville for a feature story on Fuller as the Tigers made their first trip to the NAIA World Series.
Now Fuller is the face of Campbellsville University. His picture and story can be found everywhere in the university's magazines, bulletins and promotional materials. He will play for the Great Lakes Team is a developmental professional league this fall.
2) After Artis Stratton resurrected Babe Ruth when it appeared the league would fold completely three years ago, its all-star teams performed well in postseason play this summer.
The 14-year-old All-Stars finished third in the state. The members were Aaron Baldwin, Dustin Cartas, Avery Collier, William Fox, Gage Hales, Tyler Hall, Cody Hunt, Travis Kennedy, Zach Lee, Thomas Miller. Davis Pardue, and Chris Powell. Brian Kennedy was the manager with coaches Mike Cartas and Nick Neiman.
Manager Richard Shifflett's15-year-old All-Stars finished second in the state. Team members were Luke Bailey, Zachery Dixon, Andrew Hayes, Ryan Harper, Lawton Jackson, Brice Moore, Dustin Nash, Jacob Neiman, Thomas Shifflett, Ryan Steenbergen, Caleb Wills and Seth Washington. Jeff Harper and Tracy Nash were coaches.
3) The Little League All-Stars made history and extablished their places in local sports lore by becoming not only the first 11-12 year-old state champions from here but by also winning the Great Lakes Region and earning a berth in the Little League World Series. Hundreds of Logan Countians made the 11-hour-plus trip to Williamsport, Pa., thousands of Kentuckains supported them, and they earned fans around the world.
Monday night, Roy's Bar-B-Q in Russellville was packed with people wanting to pay tribute to the Little Leaguers. In a joint production of  Lon Sosh of WRUS, First Southern National Bank, and the Morgan family at Roy's, tributes flowed for the team.
Alex Keltner  of FSNB, which had already donated $10,000 to the cause, presented trophies to the players and coaches. Logan County Judge/Executive Logan Chick showed a huge framed exhibit which is to displayed at the courthouse, and RHS Principal/Football Coach John Myers told the guys he wants to see the same type of passion from his team as he did from the Little Leaguers. Brother Joe Carrico offered the invocation. Lon was the master of ceremonies, even though he was sick and was hospitalized in intensive care a couple of days later.
Principal speakers were for UK and NBA star Kenny 'Sky' Walker and retired RHS football coach Ken Barrett.
Walker told them that despite his being the number two scorer in UK history, a consensus All-American, the number five pick in the NBA draft, and some wonderful years in the NBA and in international ball some of his greatest memories come from winning two state high school basketball championships in a Georgia town about a third the size of Russellville. He talked about the great days of youth sports. (And he talked about his friendship with  Roy Morgan, one of the owners of the restaurant which bears his name.)
Barrett, who coached Russellville to three state championships, was named state coach of the year and is a member of the state sports hall of fame, talked about his heroes. They included major league pitcher Steve Hamilton (against whom Barrett went two for three in the OVC championship game), NFL greats Terry Bradshaw, John Hannah and Joe Ferguson (whom Barrett either coached or coached against), and Braves start Chipper Jones (whose father Barrett coached), but he said the little leaguers are his true heroes. His grandson, Barrett Croslin, is a member of that team.
Among those attending were former Globetrotter Otis Key, an RHS graduate who coached the Kentucky Bisons to the ABA championship last year, LCHS baseball coach Ethan Meguiar, Russellville Mayor Gene Zick, and Logan County Schools Superintendent Marshall Kemp.
Be watching The LoJo for a video recording of the entire program.
We also hope to have a video from the next day's visit of Coach John Calipari with the Little Leaguers at the extension office, which is part of the UK Ag Complex. The extension staff had everything decorated in blue and white.
The crowd was so large that some people who tried to attend finally gave up because they couldn't find a parking place anywhere nearby.  Dorinda White of Logan Aluminum, who coordinated the appearance, says she knows that at least 300 people attended, maybe 400.
Calipari's visit was encouraged and expedited by Rick Corman and Fred Mudge of RJ Corman Railroad Company. Mudge is a former president of Logan Aluminum.
We thought the highly anticipated resurrector of Wildcat Basketball would be there to sell his new book, but that wasn't the purpose. Calipari went to Bowling Green afterwards to do that. Instead he was here to honor the Little Leaguers, whom he had supported during the regional and World Series, and to promote UK basketball.
Dr. Dewey Wood was one of the few people in attendance who already had copies of the book to be signed, but Calipari signed many other items, including a UK basketball that Little League All-Star Jacob Wood already had.
Through Bryan Fuller, the Little League All-Stars and the Babe Ruth All-Stars, we're much encouraged about baseball in Logan County and Russellville. The Year of Baseball Resurgance has been amazing.

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