By MICHAEL CHILDERS, CJ Correspondent
When you look up the word dynasty in the dictionary, it defines it as a series of members of a family who are distinguished for their success.
After the week that the Somerset-Pulaski County Babe Ruth baseball family has had, they could now be considered a dynasty.
Just how good of a week has it been for the Somerset-Pulaski baseball program? Well, its three teams swept the 13, 14, and 15-year-old East Kentucky Babe Ruth State Tournaments.
The 13 YO all-stars went 4-1 in their tournament to claim the first of three state titles for the week. In the championship game on Sunday night at Shillito Park in Lexington, Somerset-Pulaski defeated South Lexington by a score of 6-4.
In the 14 YO age division, Somerset-Pulaski defeated South Lexington by a final tally of 14-2 in the finals on Monday evening at Lexington’s Veterans Park. The 14 YO lost one game in the tournament, which came against the same South Lexington team that they defeated in the championship game.
It was an historical weekend for the 15 YO ball club, as they became the first-ever Somerset-Pulaski group to sweep through their playing years with a state title in each of their three seasons. Somerset-Pulaski outscored their four opponents by a 48-0 margin to claim their third consecutive state championship, which was held at Pulaski County High School.
District 5 Commissioner Marshall Todd, who has been around the program for 15 years, has seen the program grow to new heights and expects that to continue for quite some time.
“It’s a very big deal – this is huge,” began Todd, who is the head commissioner for 10 counties. “The Lexington teams are the ones that have been a dynasty for years. Somerset-Pulaski has been chipping away at them for the past few years, winning a state title here and a state title there – now, they’ve finally put it all together. When Lexington teams play the local teams, they know that they are going to face some top-notch competition.”
Todd, one of six commissioners in the East Kentucky division, attributes the success of these trio of Babe Ruth teams to the feeder programs at the Cal Ripken level, where they can begin playing at the age of eight years old.
“It’s an excellent feeder program,” told the District 5 Commissioner. “Kids start at age eight and go through age 12 at the Cal Ripken level. By the time they get to the 13, 14, and 15-year-old levels, they know how to play fundamental baseball. This 15-year-old team is awesome. They can all hit the ball, they all play good defense, and they have some great pitchers – they’re a very well-rounded team.”
The three local Babe Ruth teams will begin play in the Babe Ruth Ohio Valley Regionals next Wednesday, July 24th. The 13 YO team will travel to Robinson, Illinois, the 14 YO squad will go northwest to Jasper, Indiana, and the 15 YO state champions will make the trek to Zanesville, Ohio.
Members of the Babe Ruth 13-year-old championship team are: Chase Walker, Chance Stayton, John David Nelson, Lucas Wesley, Seth Bennett, Chase Madden, Stephen Burrell, Trevor Andrus, Caleb Wonn, Collin Hartmann, Walker Hancock, and Parker Begley. Coaches are Hagan Wonn, Nathan Phipps, and Chris Stayton.
Members of the Babe Ruth 14-year-old championship team are Hagan Elmore, Kross Grundy,Trae Harmon, Brandon Pruitt, Cody Sturgill, Thomas Hislope, Nathanael Bell, Jacob Clark, Jonathan Gallagher, Cody Wesley, Chris Blount, Chandler Woods and Chase Emerson. Coaches are French Harmon, Scotty Bell, Phil Grundy and Randy Elmore.
Members of the Babe Ruth 15-year-old championship team are Hunter Cromer, Devin Vaught, Wade Purvis, Trevor Howard, Logan Ramsey, Aaron Estes, Dylan Shadoan, Logan Combs, Justin Walker, Isaac Stephens, Evan Saindon, Logan Estes, and Landon Powell. Coaches are Ben Burton, Derrick Vaught and James Saindon.