Harper to reunite with Woodall in Spaulding baseball
By Jim Turner

Posted on January 12, 2015 8:09 PM

Two athletes who have been teammates most of their lives will be reunited this fall in college.

Logan County High School Athletic Director Hugh McReynolds has announced that a signing ceremony will be held Tuesday at 2 p.m. for Matt Harper to sign to play baseball collegiately for Spaulding University. The public is invited.

Harper will join his little league, travel ball and Cougar teammate Ian Woodall, who is a freshman baseball player at Spaulding.

Matt Harper is about to begin his fourth year as an infield starter for the Cougars. His first season he played alongside his big brother Ryan, who has moved on to play collegiately for Lindsey Wilson. Matt is the Cougars shortstop, and he also has been a key member of the pitching staff, mostly as the closer.

He first attracted widespread attention when he and nine other representatives of Logan County Little League earned a spot in the Little League World Series in 2009. Most of them were part of the Southern Kentucky Sluggers who traveled around the Eastern part of the United States playing teams on the highest level. After that came, high school baseball.

As a Cougar, Matt Harper has batted .354 overall in 305 at bats. Among his 108 hits, 24 have been doubles, 3 triples and 2 homers. He has also walked 32 times, been hit by 11 pitches, and reached base on an error in 22 more plate appearances. He has scored 68 runs and driven in 55. Last year he had a batting average of .383, an on-base percentage of .471 and a slugging percentage of .609.

He has pitched in 20 high games for a total of 36.2 innings. He has an overall record of 5-2 with four saves. His earned run average last year was a meagre 1.167, with his allowing only 12 hits and 7 walks while striking out 33 batters.

On defense, he has 167 putouts and 110 assists, participating in 30 double plays. He has made only 30 errors in three years and has a career fielding percentage of .903, highlighted by .944 in his freshman season.

Coach Ethan Meguiar’s Cougars have won all three 13th District championships while Harper has been a starter, and they won the region his sophomore year. They came within an eyelash of winning their state opener against Louisville St. Xavier.

Matt also played basketball for Coach Todd Gill’s Olmstead middle school champions, and he was a key player on the varsity Cougars for Coach Harold Tackett as a freshman, but he gave up the sport after that year and has concentrated on baseball.

Matt is the son of Christy Harper Barnette of Lexington and Jeff Harper of Russellville.

Ian Woodall was a key player for the Cougars throughout his high school years. He pitched and caught for Coach Kevin Gettings’ Little League All-Stars, but he played outfield most of his first three years as a Cougar because All-American Dustin Cartas was a fixture behind the plate. Woodall moved to catcher his senior season and is catching for the Spaulding University Eagles.

In four years of varsity baseball, Woodall played in 121 games, batting .291, including .467 as a freshman and .309 as a senior. Among his 102 hits, he had 22 doubles, 10 triples and 4 home runs while walking 48 times, being hit by 26 pitches and reaching on 16 errors. He had 82 RBIs and scored 60 runs.

Woodall played football his first three years of high school, quarterbacking Coach Dain Gregory’s team to a victory over Russellville at Rhea Stadium as a sophomore. But he gave up football his senior year and concentrated on baseball.

Ian is the son of Kristi and Dr. Gary Woodall. His brothers Luke and Nate are also talented athletes.

Spaulding is an NCAA Division III school located in downtown Louisville. Games are played at Derby Field. Head coach Jeremy Sheetinger played for Kentucky Wesleyan and has been on coaching staffs at the University of Kentucky, Brescia and Georgetown as well as St. Joseph’s of Indiana. Assistant Coach Tim Winsatt played for UK and KWC, and new assistant Matt West finished his playing career at Spaulding this spring.

The Eagles have won a total of 61 games in “Coach Sheets’” two years on the job.

Ian Woodall is currently the only baseball player from west of Louisville on the team, but Matt Harper will at least double that number this fall.

Harper is the sixth member of that World Series team to become part of college baseball. In addition to Woodall, Barrett Croslin is at Vol State and Joe Holliday at Cumberland University in Tennessee. Zach Denney is pitching in Illinois. Caleb Bruner has signed to pitch for Western Kentucky University but will still be Harper’s teammate at LCHS this spring.

Bruner and Harper were the two Fourth Region players chosen to play in the West All-Star game last year.


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