Hello sports fans. The rain and the wind are still looming throughout the coal valleys and finally Election Day is upon us. No need to bring politics into our safe sports world, I can promise you a politics free zone here in my little sports column.
For the last two weeks the weather has put a damper on the baseball machine that was spitting out high school baseball and softball games faster than I could read them. Lately a few teams have squeezed in some playing time underneath the clouds. The Mingo Central Lady Miners finally got their sectional game against Wayne last week; after the game was postponed for three straight days. Sadly the Lady Miners couldn’t hold on for the win and the season abruptly ended with an 8-0 shutout.
There were stand out moments during the game that showed how far the Lady Miners had come since the season opener. The Lady Miners were making good contact with the ball and playing smart on offense. The Wayne Lady Pioneers fielded well during the game and the Lady Miners couldn’t catch a break. They still averaged a few of their usual errors but in that game it was crucial. Head Coach Patrick Cline stated he would be back as head coach next year and was excited for the opportunity. The Lady Miners will lose three seniors this summer, one of which is veteran pitcher Kara Lester who will be tough to replace, but Cline reported they have younger players ready to step up.
The Belfry Pirates have been playing rain or shine; they recently played Sheldon Clark in a duck drenching rain that felt more like a trip through Food City’s vegetable section than a ball game. The Pirates pulled off the win with a final score of 2-1 with a lot of slipping and sliding. However, the Belfry baseball field is in good condition on a regular basis. The Pirates have played two road games since the rain game and have two more ahead of them before the return to Pirate Nation.
Belfry is in the top five of the 15th Region with Johnson Central, Prestonsburg, Lawrence County and Pikeville. Johnson Central has a clear lead with 21 wins while the others are divided by only one win. The Pirates are at 17-10 with the others hovering at 18 wins, except for Prestonsburg who earned a win against the Pirates on Monday with a score of 7-2 putting them at 19 wins on the season. At the end of the month Kentucky will begin their district tournaments. The local tournaments in West Virginia have already begun. In the 60th District Lawrence County will face the number four seeded Phelps and Belfry will face the number three seeded Pike Central. After this season the Pirates will lose veteran catcher Tyler Fileds who will trade in his Pirate jersey for a Bears jersey as he heads to UPike.
The Mingo Central boys’ start their sectional tournaments next week at Tolsia, the winner will advance to play the Wayne Pioneers the next day at Wayne. The Miners have improved this season and have set up a fundamental game plan for future teams to follow. Head Coach Jared Lester will lose a huge portion of his heavy hitters over the summer to graduation. The Miners will bounce back next season with a crop of young talent as the rumor mill continues to spill out talk of junior high up-and-comers from the feeder programs around the area.
Speaking of Mingo Central, they hired Kevin Hatfield as the new head basketball coach. Hatfield will undoubtedly bring his son Drew Hatfield who will surely be a welcomed prospect for the upcoming football season since the Miners were looking hard for someone to fill the shoes of senior quarterback Steven Hammond who will depart over the summer.
Tug Valley played their sectional opener against the Man Hillbillies on Monday and lost with a final score of 13-0. The game went into the sixth inning as the Panthers held on as long as they could. Man clearly had the Panthers number and the second round of the sectionals was scheduled to Tuesday at 1:00 p.m. The Tug Valley softball team was knocked out of the sections when they forfeited the opening round last week.
The Belfry Lady Pirates are sitting in the middle of the rankings with just over a week of games left to play. The good news is that they are all regional games and every one of them is extremely winnable. The Lady Pirates are already seeded as number two in the 60th district with Lawrence County in number one. The Lady Pirates will face the Lady Hawks from Pike Central in the opening round. The Lady pirates have beaten Pike Central in both contests of the regular season and are hoping for a repeat in the tournament. The Lady pirates will climb as far as they can this season but it can’t be forgotten that senior Kendra Gannon will leave the Pirates and head to UPike after this season. Gannon has been the team’s foundation as a pitcher for a couple of years, she will be hard to replace and she has pitched nearly every game this season.
The Ambassador Christian Academy Eagles pushed through the season with a young but talented squad. They have a good trio of pitchers who will all return next season. The young Eagles were a serious opponent this year for many local teams and one can speculate that they will only get better with age come next season. Keep an eye on this young squad, plus this team is absolutely fun to watch. The Eagles stay on the road now with the post season of the Christian Circuit, with games being played in Tennessee and Ohio.
The fruits of this season’s labor are beginning to shine in the light with the post season beginning for other teams either this week or next week. Before you know it the rumor mill will be filled with talk of football and fall. Stay posted on all the area scores in the regular sports section of the Williamson Daily News.
(William Plaster is the sports reporter for the Williamson Daily News, he can be reached at 304-235-4242 ext. 2274 or at [email protected] or on twitter @sidplaster)