HILLVIEW – Did the Blue Lick 15 All-Stars hurt their chances in the state tournament by virtue of a loss in the district finals on Sunday? Probably not.
Did the team which advanced to regional competition as 14 year olds last year earn themselves a much harder week of practice?
Most definitely so.
Manager Troy Hayes likes his team’s chances at the state tournament, which begins Wednesday in Owensboro. But not the team that showed up to play in the district final Sunday against a very talented Germantown squad.
“We came in here thinking we were going to walk through this thing,” said Hayes. “Then, we get down in the first inning and we never could get going.”
For Hayes, the loss helps to get the players’ attention.
“We came in here not wanting to get anyone hurt and also getting our pitchers a few innings of work,” said Hayes. “We accomplished that.”
But few other things were accomplished on this particular afternoon.
Starter Nick Hayes struggled to find his control in the first inning, walking the first three batters. The manager had the quick hook and Ryan Henson took over on the hill.
By the time Germantown’s Petty hit a two-run homer, the host team was down 6-0.
Blue Lick did get two runs back in its first at-bats.
Daulton Walls singled and Michael Harris doubled. Logan Wyatt and Henson hit back-to-back RBI singles.
But that would be the high-water mark on the day for Blue Lick, which lost 9-4.
In the opening round, Blue Lick played long-time Preston Highway rival Okolona.
The host team had no problem in the 20-2 victory.
Kevin McKnight started on the hill for Blue Lick.
In the first inning, Blue Lick would score six times.
Walls led off with a double and Keaton Reitz had an RBI single. Wyatt followed with an RBI single and two walks were followed by McKnight’s single. Austin Trammell had an RBI single and Brady Keehn’s single plated two teammates.
In the second, the lead grew to 9-0.
Reitz singled and scored on Harris’ double. Wyatt walked. Henson’s fielder’s choice scored Harris. With two outs, McKnight drove home a run with a single.
Trammell would homer later in the game.
With the state tournament on Wednesday, Hayes said he feels good about his team, which for the most part is the same roster as finished in the final four in Ohio Valley Regional play last year.
“We’ve been there and done that,” Hayes said of the post-season experience. “And I hope today’s game will get them excited because we weren’t very excited today.”
The Blue Lick 15 All Stars included: Jaylin Blair, Wyatt Blevins, Michael Harris, Nick Hayes, Ryan Henson, Brady Keehn, Kevin McKnight, Ryan McKnight, Chase Morrison, Dylan Napper, Keaton Reitz, Austin Trammell, Daulton Walls and Logan Wyatt. Hayes is assisted by Doug Henson and Kelly McKnight.