Kentucky Baseball 2010 Year in Review

College Baseball, High School Baseball, Major League Baseball, Minor League Baseball

Corey Hart; Photo by Steve Paluch via Flickr

We are a couple of days late with our look back at Kentucky baseball in 2010, but hopefully you can spare one more retrospective with this look at the year’s best highlight from each level of baseball in the Bluegrass State.

MLB Highlight: Corey Hart completes breakout season

  • Bowling Green native and Greenwood High School alum Corey Hart batted .283 with 31 home runs, 102 RBI, 91 runs scored and 158 hits in 2010 for the Milwaukee Brewers. Along the way Hart started for the National League in the MLB All-Star Game, signed a three-year contract extension and participated in the home run derby. Hart recorded career highs in home runs, RBI and runs scored in 2010 and finished the year in the running for Kentucky’s best MLB hitter.
  • One-time Louisville Bats Josh Hamilton and Joey Votto named MLB MVPs.

MiLB Highlight: Kipnis caps season with AAA playoff cycle

  • One-time UK outfielder turned second baseman Jason Kipnis ended an impressive 2010 season by hitting for the cycle for the Columbus Clippers after being promoted to AAA for the team’s playoff run. Kipnis batted .307 with 16 home runs, 74 RBI and 96 runs scored across two levels during the regular season. Kipnis finished his college career as an all-American after transferring to Arizona State and has certainly followed through on the promise that led Cleveland to select him in the second round of the 2009 draft. Kipnis enters 2011 with a chance to make the Indians’ MLB roster out of Spring Training.
  • Non-drafted free agents Richie Rowland, Marcus Nidiffer and Tyler Gatrell excel in professional debuts.

College Highlight: UofL wins second consecutive Big East title

  • The University of Louisville clinched its second straight Big East Conference championship with a double-header sweep of Notre Dame on May 23. The Cards were eliminated from the NCAA tournament one win shy of the super regional, but were on cloud nine after outscoring the Fighting Irish 23-6 in the championship-clinching series. UofL sophomore second baseman Ryan Wright put together an All-American season, and the Cards boasted a state-high 10 MLB draftees.
  • Murray St. first baseman Wes Cunningham completes All-American season.

High School Highlight: Harrison County wins fourth title

  • Freshman starting pitcher Jordan Martin led Harrison County High School to its fourth KHSAA baseball championship with a complete-game championship-clinching win. The champions defeated Butler County High School 2-1 to win the title and ended the season on a 24-game winning streak. Harrison County placed two players on the KHSBCA all-state teams and three players on the KHSAA All-Tournament ┬áteam during the state playoffs. Junior outfielder Eric Sanders was named the MVP of the state tournament.
  • Honorable Mention: Western Hills shortstop J. T. Riddle wins “Mr. Baseball.”
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Harrison Co. wins KHSAA title behind freshman pitcher

High School Baseball

Two first-inning runs were all Region 10 champion Harrison County High School needed Saturday as the school held on for its fourth Kentucky High School Athletic Association championship with a 2-1 win over Region Six champion Butler High School. Harrison County freshman starting pitcher Jordan Martin earned the championship victory after allowing just one run in a complete-game performance. Martin struck out five and walked just three. Harrison County scored its two first-inning runs with two outs on a RBI single from junior right fielder Shane Fowler that scored junior left fielder Eric Sanders and a RBI single from junior designated hitter Samuel Logan Daily that scored senior shortstop Jared Martin. Sanders was named the state tournament MVP.

Butler senior starting pitcher Kyle McGrath almost equaled Martin’s pitching performance by allowing just two runs in his own complete-game performance. McGrath struck out eight batters and walked none. McGrath, an Eastern Kentucky University┬ásignee, ended the state tournament with 26 strikeouts in 15 innings. Butler senior shortstop Zach Lucas was the only player in the game to record multiple hits with a 2-4, one-run scored performance. (Box Score)

Player of the game: SP Jordan Martin — Martin, a freshman, had pitched just 27 innings before the state championship game but certainly didn’t show his inexperience in a complete game performance. Martin surrendered just one run on five hits in seven innings and struck out five while walking three. The performance ended Harrison County’s season on a 24-game winning streak.