Over the past 10 years, the local high school baseball action has been outstanding with loads of great players at every position. Both, Somerset (2019) and Southwestern (2014) claimed 12th Region Tournament titles in the past decade.
Although it was nearly impossible to pick out the best players throughout the decade, we highlighted 16 players that made our Commonwealth Journal All-County Teams in multiple years or was selected as the Commonwealth Journal Baseball Player of the Year.
Kade Grundy (Somerset High School 2017-2021) was selected to the Commonwealth Journal All-County Team his freshman year and was named the 2019 Commonwealth Journal Baseball Player of the Year his sophomore season. Kade Grundy did not get to play high school baseball his junior year because of the COVID-19 Pandemic, and still has his senior year to play.
In 2019, Grundy led the county in runs batted in with 51 and seven home runs. Grundy had a .456 batting average (second in the county), hit nine doubles and had an on-base percentage of .563 (second in the county). On the mound, Grundy had an ERA of 1.84 in 53.1 innings pitched. Grundy threw 67 strikeouts and had a won-loss record of 4-1. Grundy was named the Most Valuable Player of the 12th Region Tournament.
In 2018, Kade Grundy had a tremendous freshman season, posting a 4-2 record on the mound, with 50 strikeouts in 33 2/3 innings, while posting a .374 ERA. At the plate, Kade Grundy hit .371 with a club-leading 14 doubles and 19 RBI. He also led the Briar Jumpers with 18 stolen bases for the season.
Chance Stayton (Somerset 2016-2019) was selected to the Commonwealth Journal All-County Team for three straight years.
In 2019, Stayton had a .336 batting average, drove in 27 runs, scored 12 runs, had six doubles, and had an on-base percentage of .405. Stayton hit the game-winning two-run triple in the Jumpers' region championship game.
In 2018, Stayton batted .381 for the year, and led the Jumpers nine home runs. Stayton added five doubles, and scored 34 runs for the year.
In his sophomore season, Stayton hit .441 for the season, with 22 RBI and 22 runs scored. Stayton notched three home runs and added three doubles for the year.
Hagan Elmore (Pulaski County 2015-2018) made four consecutive Commonwealth Journal All-County Teams, and was the Maroons' lone player on the CJ All-Decade Baseball Team.
In his senior season, Elmore posted a 5-5 mark on the mound, with a team-leading 54 strikeouts. At the plate, Elmore led the Maroons with a .412 batting average, and he paced PC with 13 doubles, three home runs, 32 RBI, and in runs scored with 35.
In 2017, Elmore led the Maroons in virtually ever statistical category. He had a .416 batting average, while finishing the year with 25 RBI, 20 runs scored, four home runs, and 37 hits.
In 2016, Elmore had a .330 batting average, hit 3 home runs and drove in 28 runs. In 2015, Elmore went 5-5 overall, striking out 50 batters in 71.67 innings of work. At the plate, Elmore batted .290 with 12 RBI's and 30 runs scored.
Jeffery Madden (Southwestern 2016-2019) was a solid pitcher and hitter for the Warriors for three years and was named to three straight Commonwealth Journal All-County Teams.
In 2019, Madden led the county in pitching with a 1.51 ERA in 56.2 innings pitched and struck out 97 batters. On the mound, Madden had a 4-1 record. At the plate, Madden had a .514 on-base percentage and drove in 32 runs. Madden had a .383 batting average, scored 23 runs, hit two homers, and had eight doubles.
In 2018, Madden posted a perfect 10-0 pitching record on the year with a 2.10 ERA. In 63 innings of work on the mound, the Southwestern junior fanned 93 hitters. At the plate, Madden hit. 282, with seven doubles, 23 runs driven in, and 14 runs scored.
In his sophomore season, Madden led the Warriors with a 9-1 record on the mound, while also leading Southwestern with a 2.53 ERA. He recorded 86 strikeouts and he did it in only 58 innings of work on the hill. At the plate, Madden hit .361, with 18 runs scored and a pair of doubles.
Jonathan Gallagher (Southwestern 2015-2018) was the 2018 Commonwealth Journal Player of the Year and was on back-to-back Commonwealth Journal All-County Teams.
In 2018, Gallagher had a monster senior year, batting .452 for the season, helping lead the Warriors to a 25-6 record in 2018. The Warrior senior tied for the club lead with 13 doubles, while leading Southwestern with two triples, nine home runs, and 55 RBI. Gallagher also posted a 4-2 record on the mound this past season, with 21 strikeouts in his 20 innings of work on the hill.
In 2017, Gallagher led Southwestern with a .396 batting average, and he led the Warriors with 43 RBI, and had 33 runs scored. Gallagher also led the Warriors with eight home runs on the season, and he finished the year with a team-best 11 doubles.
Kross Grundy (Somerset 2016-2018) was named to three straight Commonwealth Journal All-County Teams.In 2018, Kross Grundy hit .396 for the season, with four home runs, 10 doubles and 31 RBI. Kross Grundy led Somerset with 37 runs scored, and he tallied 12 stolen bases.
In 2017, Grundy hit .400 for the season, while knocking in 30 runs, scoring 43 runs, while adding six homers, four doubles, and one triple. On the base paths, the centerfielder also swiped 10 bags for the year.
In 2016, Kross Grundy maintained a .396 batting average and drove in 49 runs. Grundy hit 6 home runs, scored 44 runs, had 8 doubles, 2 triples, and stole 10 bases.
Trae Harmon (Somerset 2015-2018) was one of two players on our All-Decade Team that was named Commonwealth Journal Baseball Player of the Year in back-to-back years (2017 and 2016). Harmon also was named to four straight Commonwealth Journal All-County Teams.
In 2018, Harmon, who signed with the University of Kentucky, finished tied for the club lead with nine home runs for the year, while hitting .379. Harmon also added 12 doubles, and drove in 37 runs.
In 2017, Harmon led the Briar Jumpers with a .509 batting average for the year. Harmon led Somerset with nine home runs, and he led Somerset with 53 RBI. The junior first baseman also scored 43 runs for the year and tallied 13 doubles.
His sophomore season, Harmon led the county in almost every slugging statistic. Harmon had a county best 14 home runs and 59 runs batted in. Harmon ended the season with a .435 batting average. Harmon also amassed 57 hits on the year, with 15 doubles, 2 triples, and 48 runs scored. Harmon had a .522 on-base percentage and an astounding .901 slugging percentage.
His freshman year, Harmon led Somerset with a batting average of .385. The Briar Jumper freshman tallied 14 RBI's, 19 runs scored, and a lone home run.
Brandon Pruitt (Southwestern 2014-2017) was named to three consecutive Commonwealth Journal All-County Teams.
In 2017, Pruitt batted .362 for the year, with 26 RBI, 33 runs scored, and 10 doubles. On the mound, Pruitt notched eight wins on the season, with a 2.74 ERA. The senior pitcher also fanned 86 hitters in his 73 innings on the mound.
In his junior season, Pruitt had a .381 batting average, scored 26 runs, drove in 29 runs and had one home run. Pruitt hit 6 doubles and belted out 2 triples. On the mound, Pruitt struck out 29 batters.
In 2015, Pruitt posted a 7-1 pitching record with 25 strikeouts and an ERA of 1.26 in 44.33 innings. Pruitt, at the plate, finished with a batting average of .410 to go along with 25 RBI's and 15 runs scored.
Lucas Turpin (Southwestern 2013-2016) was named to three straight Commonwealth Journal All-County Teams.
In 2016, Turpin had a .412 batting average, hit 3 home runs and drove in 43 runs. Turpin had 47 hits, scored 30 runs, had 17 doubles and a triple.
In 2015, Turpin finished the season with a .475 batting average, a team-high 46 RBI's, 34 runs scored, and a pair of home runs. Turpin, who finished with an ERA of 1.68, fanned 38 batters in 41.67 innings.
In his sophomore year, Turpin had an average of .375 and 36 hits over the course of the 2014 season.
Vincent Boils (Southwestern 2013-2016) was named to three straight Commonwealth Journal All-County Teams.
In 2016, Boils dominated on the mound this season with a 10-2 record and a 1.36 ERA. During his last three seasons for Southwestern, Boils lost only one game to a 12th Region opponent. Boils also struck out 74 batters on the season. At the plate, Boils had a .379 batting average, with 10 doubles and 17 RBI.
In 2015, Boils had 49 strikeouts in 63.67 innings to go along with an ERA of 2.09. At the plate, Boils batted .381 with 19 RBI's.
As a sophomore, Boils was the Warriors' number one pitcher, a catcher, and a third baseman. Boils, who had a batting average of .293, had 36 hits on the season, which included eight doubles. On the mound, the Warrior sophomore went 7-3 with an ERA of 1.26. Boils had 57 strikeouts in 61 innings of work.
Trevor Howard (Southwestern 2012-2016) was one of two players in the decade to be named the Commonwealth Journal Player of the Year in back-to-back years (2014 and 2015). Howard was the only player in the decade to be named to five consecutive Commonwealth Journal All-County Teams.
In 2016, Howard closed out an astounding prep baseball career with a .390 batting average, hit 5 homers and had 28 runs batted in. Howard scored 36 runs, hit 7 doubles, stole 8 bases and had a 3-2 pitching record.
In 2015, Howard led Southwestern in batting average (.494), runs scored (44), and home runs (7). The Warrior junior also had 36 RBI's at the plate that season. On the hill, Howard struck out 28 batters in 32.33 innings of work.
In 2014, Howard batted .453 with 44 RBI's and 53 hits, including nine home runs and 16 doubles. On the mound, the Warrior sophomore finished with a record of 4-3 to go along with 39 strikeouts. Howard, an outfielder, third baseman, and pitcher, played a pivotal role in the Warriors winning their second-ever 12th Region title.
As a freshman, Howard had 46 hits, including 13 doubles, a lone triple, and trio of home runs. The Warrior freshman, who had a batting average of .404, had 39 RBI's. On the hill, Howard went 3-2 and had two saves, while finishing with 25 strikeouts in 40.7 innings for an ERA of 1.38.
As an eighth-grader, Howard hit .396 for the year, finishing the season with 32 hits. Howard drove in 33 runs for the season to go along with 10 doubles.
Logan Ramsey (Somerset 2013-2016) was named to three Commonwealth Journal All-County Teams.
In 2016, Ramsey closed out his prep career with a .336 batting average, hit 7 home runs and drove in 43 runs. Ramsey scored 25 runs, hit 7 doubles and one triple.
In 2015, Ramsey accumulated 28 RBI's, 14 runs scored, and three home runs that year. The Briar Jumper junior finished with a batting average of .378.
In his freshman season, Ramsey had 19 hits in 57 plate appearances. The freshman, who had two doubles and seven home runs, had an average of .333 and 23 RBI's.
Jacob Burchett (Southwestern 2012-2015) was named to three straight Commonwealth Journal All-County Teams.
In 2015, Burchett finished with 30 RBI's, 43 runs scored, and two home runs to go along with a batting average of .325. On the hill, Burchett was a shutdown pitcher for the Warriors, going 4-1 overall with another handful of saves. Burchett struck out 32 batters in 24.33 innings of work to go along with an ERA of 2.30.
In 2014, Burchett finished the year with a batting average of .364. The junior had 51 hits and 32 RBI's on the year. On the hill, Burchett came in and shut the door on several of the Warriors' 2014 opponents, finishing with six saves and a record of 1-1. Burchett had 20 strikeouts on the year to go along with an ERA of 1.68.
In his sophomore season, Burchett gave up zero earned runs in 19.7 innings of work this season, which included 32 strikeouts. Burchett went 1-0 and had eight saves. At the dish, Burchett had 41 hits (six doubles, one triple, and one home run), 22 RBI's, and a batting average of .320.
Logan Starnes (Southwestern 2010-2013) was the 2013 Commonwealth Journal Baseball Player of the Year and was named to three straight Commonwealth Journal All-County Teams.
In 2013, Starnes had a club-high 48 hits, including 16 doubles and three home runs. The versatile player had 35 RBI's and a batting average of .457. On the mound, Starnes went 9-2 on the year, a season that saw him strike out 85 batters in 64 innings and have an earned run average (ERA) of 1.75
In 2012, Starnes hit .444 for the season, and led his team in doubles with 16. Starnes also led Southwestern this year with 35 runs driven in. On the mound, the Warrior junior posted a 5-4 record with an ERA of 1.82
In his sophomore season, Starnes had a solid campaign for Southwestern, with 8 doubles, 2 triples, 4 home runs, and 20 RBI's. On the mound, Starnes really come on down the home stretch of the season, notching a 6-4 record on the mound with a 3.22 ERA. Starnes also led all Warrior pitchers this season in strikeouts with 73.
Storm Wilson (Somerset 2009-2012) was a two-time Commonwealth Journal Baseball Player of the Year (2010 and 2012) and was named to four straight Commonwealth Journal All-County Teams.
In 2012, Wilson -- a University of Kentucky signee -- went out with a bang with a batting average of .557. Wilson hit 3 home runs for the year, notched 13 triples, drove in 24 runs, scored 38 runs, and swiped 25 bases in 28 attempts.
In 2011, Wilson hit .396 for the year, while notching 11 doubles, added a pair of triples, and blasted 6 home runs. Wilson also drove in 31 runs for the season, swiped 20 bases, and proved he was tougher than nails by leading Somerset by getting hit by a pitch on 17 occasions.
In his sophomore year, Wilson led the Jumpers with a .512 batting average, and was tops in base hits with 63, while driving in 29 runs and scoring 25 runs.
In his freshman season, Wilson hit .410 on the season for the Briar Jumpers, while blasting one home run and posting 13 RBI's.
Taylor Sears (Somerset 2008-2011) was named the 2009 Commonwealth Journal Baseball Player of the Year and was named to three straight Commonwealth Journal All-County Teams.
In 2011, Sears played all year long with a shoulder injury that required surgery at the end of the season. Sears maintained a with a .417 batting average with 53 base hits, 7 doubles, 1 home run, and 25 RBI's. Sears also led the Jumpers with 21 stolen bases.
In 2010, Sears hit .411 for the year with 53 hits, finishing on top for the Jumpers in runs scored with 33. The Jumper second baseman also led his club with 32 RBI's for the year
In his sophomore season, Sears led the Briar Jumpers in 2009 with a .488 batting average, while scoring a team-high 59 runs. The SHS second baseman led his team in stolen bases, and hit a team-best 18 doubles. Sears was second on his team in total base hits with 38, and he was second in on-base percentage with a OBP of .628. Maybe more impressive than all of those stats was the simple fact that Sears played a flawless second base all season long, never committing an error for the entire year.
Several other players just missed out on our Commonwealth Journal All-Decade Team, but deserved mention as some of the best players in the decade. Named as Commonwealth Journal All-Decade Honorable Mentions were Somerset's Ben Purcell, Southwestern's Zach Turpin, Southwestern's Ethan Jones, Somerset brothers Otie Manning and Erik Manning, and Pulaski County's Aaron Smith.
STEVE CORNELIUS is the CJ Sports Editor and can be reached at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter at @CJSportseditor.