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Kirby Smith may not have toed the rubber while playing at Campbellsville University, but the Campbellsville High School head coach knows where games are won and lost the most.
“Pitching will be the key to our success and being able to win our sixth straight district title,” Smith offered recently. “We have more pitchers this year than we have had in previous years, but our rotation is mainly freshman and sophomores with Chris Sexton being the lone senior. If we continue to improve on the hill, I think by the time May rolls around we will have a shot at another title.”
Smith admits winning five straight district titles and six of the last seven (Jim Ward’s Eagles won the title in 2006) should help.
“I believe when you have players with post-season experience with success it is an advantage,” Smith continued. “The old saying ‘success breeds success’ is so true.
“Right now our biggest strength is that our team is very coachable and possibly one of the hardest working teams that I have had,” Smith said. I believe they understand what it takes to win a sixth straight title.
“We embrace the success we have had in the past, but we realize this season is the only one that counts right now.
“Our goal every year is to be playing our best baseball when it counts the most — the post-season,” Smith acknowledged about his young squad. “We do not get caught up in how many wins we have during the regular season due to the strength of our schedule.
“It is more important to us that we improve throughout the season. I believe the key to our success will be how much we will improve from now until May 20 — when the real season begins. Of course in order to win another district title we must do two things really well — pitch and play solid defense.”
Smith said his seniors always hold the key.
“I always look to my seniors for leadership,” Smith said. “They have been a part of all our recent championships and understand what it takes.
“But. leadership doesn’t always have to be in the form of a senior. In 2008 when we won the district, freshman Taylor Levi led the way on the hill by beating Taylor County 8-6. Then in 2009 we called upon another freshman, Brett Kearney, to close out the championship in a 15-11 slugfest. I expect all players to be leaders regardless of what grade they are in.”
Smith looks at the district and region races by saying:
“I think our district will be very competitive. Whichever two teams make it to the region will have definitely earned their way in.
“Central Hardin is by far the best team in the region once again this year. But, I believe any team in our district could be in the top 4-5.
Freshman Chase Thomas is scheduled to start on the hill vs. Caverna tomorrow. Another freshman, Austin Hash, is slated to start against Greenwood Friday and then again the following Friday against Central Hardin. Sophomore J.T. Holmes will start game three.
Julian Pierce and Chris Sexton round out the rotation while Josh Roe, Cameron Hughes, Zach Durham and Tony Barrera will see time on the hill.
The tentative batting order vs. Caverna will be; Chris Sexton, RF; Caleb Gupton, 1B; Julian Pierce, CF, Stealth Townley, C; Bradley Bates, LF; Chase Thomas, P; Austin Hash, 3B; J.T. Holmes, SS; Zach Durham, 2B.
Last thought: Smith thinks the local success can be attributed to the strong local youth program.
“I believe our Little League program has done a tremendous job of getting kids ready to play baseball,” Smith admitted. “Since 1990, it has been either Campbellsville or Taylor County winning the district title and that alone says a lot for both of our local teams and the Little League program.”
CHS Eagles’ baseball schedule
March 12 at Caverna
March 15 Greenwood
March 16 Spencer County
March 19 Hart County
March 21 Thomas Nelson
March 22 Central Hardin
March 25 Bardstown
March 26 at Metcalfe County
March 27 at Russell County
March 28 Nelson County
March 31-April 5 Florida trip
April 9 Adair County
April 11 at Taylor County
April 12 at North Hardin
April 13 Wayne County
April 16 Marion County
April 18 at Adair County
April 19 North Bullitt @E-town
April 20 LaRue County @E-town
April 20 at Elizabethtown
April 22 Washington County
April 23 Taylor County
April 25 at Marion County
April 26 at John Hardin
April 29 at Green County
May 2 Caverna
May 3 Metcalfe County
May 4 at Anderson County
May 6 Southwestern
May 7 at Cumberland County
May 9 Bullitt Central
May 11 LaRue County
May 13 Green County
May 14 Cumberland County
May 16 at Garrard County
May 17 Monticello
May 20-22 District at Adair Co.
May 27-29 Region at North Hardin
CHS Eagles’ baseball roster
1 Stealth Townley (C-INF) Senior
2 J.T. Holmes (INF-P) Sophomore
3 Dominique Allen (P-OF) Sophomore
4 Zach Durham (INF-C-P) Junior
5 Chris Sexton (OF-INF-P) Senior
6 Blake Moss (INF) Freshman
8 Bradley Bates (OF) Senior
9 Grant Adams (INF) Sophomore
11 Josh Roe (OF-P) Senior
12 Tony Barrera (P-OF) Sophomore
13 Caleb Gupton (INF-C) Junior
14 Dalton Hughes (P-INF) Sophomore
16 Chase Thomas (P-OF) Freshman
17 Owen Weeks (INF-OF) Sophomore
18 Caden Wheatley (OF) Freshman
19 Cameron Martin (C-P) Freshman
20 Bradshaw Smoot (INF) Freshman
21 Cameron Hughes (P-OF) Senior
22 Charles Johnson (OF) Freshman
23 Tavon Hunter (INF-OF) Freshman
24 Austin Hash (P-C-INF) Freshman
26 Dakota Cravens (INF) Junior
30 Clayton Russell (INF-P) Freshman
32 Julian Pierce (OF-P) Sophomore
34 Dalton Couch (P-INF) Junior