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Your “sources” are always your most informative people and usually the ones that keep you from forgetting something.
Wayne Baxter has forgotten more about sports than most of us will ever know — especially about University of Kentucky athletics.
The retired 4-H agent reminded me last week that the Little League State Tournament at Miller Park in 2004 consisted of a player who led the University of Louisville to two consecutive College World Series appearances.
Everyone that watched left-hander Cole Sturgeon pitch Owensboro Southern to its second straight state championship knew he would be a star.
But, probably not as much as he turned out to be — eventually a 10th-round Major League Baseball draft choice earlier this month by the Boston Red Sox.
Sturgeon, who played center field for U of L (50-17) and also stood out as a reliever, tossed a one-hitter in the state title game as his squad won 3-0 over Valley Sports.
Sturgeon also led Owensboro Southern to the Great Lakes regional a year earlier, but in 2004 they went a step farther to the Little League World Series in Williamsport, Pa.
Also on that state championship team was a young lady, named Meghan Sims, who in the title tilt hit a mammoth home run.
Although 13 girls had played in the Little League World Series from 1984-2004, Sims and Alexandra Bellini of Ottawa, Canada became the first pair of girls to play in the same year in Williamsport. (Victoria Roche, a member of the Belgium Little League team, became the first girl to break the tournament’s gender barrier.)
No female played in the World Series again until 2009 when there were again two girls participating.
While Sims may have been her team’s fifth-best pitcher (she did pitch in Williamsport), the first-basewoman hit .537 with two home runs and 18 RBIs in the Great Lakes Regional.
“She is our number five pitcher,” her coach said. “I was not trying to make history, I was trying to get out of the inning.”
Unfortunately for Sims, the batter she was brought in to face was Richmond’s (Tex.) Randall Grichuk. Grichuk had gone 3-3 with two round trippers in his first game.
Grichuk, a versatile outfielder, has had two stints this season with the St. Louis Cardinals.
Sturgeon and Sims each starred for Owensboro Catholic — Sims in softball. She also went on to be the starting shortstop at Murray State for 46 games as a freshman in 2011.
The Campbellsville 9-10s lost the state title that summer to Lexington Eastern American.
Meeting up with Tony Gwynn
There may not be a bigger baseball fan than Lynn Kearney. The long-time youth coach also has some unique memorabilia.
“One of my personal highlights was meeting Tony Gwynn at a clinic in E-town in 2005,” Kearney said after the passing on Monday of the San Diego Padre Hall of Famer and one of the greatest hitters to play the game.
“He signed a jersey, bat and picture,” Kearney relayed. “He sat on a baseball bucket and talked (to us) like we were all life-long friends.