Saturday, May 30, 2009
Friday, May 29, 2009
The Marion Bobcats open their season at Tradewater tonight, with the season getting off to an ominous start.
Two of Marion's players and a coach were injured in an auto accident returning home to Madisonville after practice Thursday night.
Pitcher Jared Long, 21, will likely miss at least half the season due to a broken collarbone and potential other injuries, while the driver, Coach Perry Utley, 53, and son, pitcher Ethan Utley, 19, were less severely injured in a two-vehicle collision. Coach Utley's youngest son, Dalton, 13, was also shaken up in the accident.
"They were bruised up pretty bad," said General Manager Gordon Guess. "But thankfully, they were all wearing their seatbelts."
The wreck occurred about three miles west of Richland in Hopkins County at 9:37 p.m.
According to a Kentucky State Police report, Utley was driving a 2008 Toyota Yaris eastbound on Ky. 70, approaching the intersection of Summers Loop Road and Fiddlebow Road. The driver of the second vehicle, Pamela Patrick, 22, was attempting to cross the state highway from Summers Loop Road as Utley reached a hillcrest near the intersection. The front bumper of Utley's vehicle struck the 1998 Chevy Prizm driven by Patrick, sliding the car across Ky. 70 onto the shoulder. Utley's Yaris also came to a rest on the shoulder of the roadway at the intersection of Fiddlebow Road and Ky. 70.
Perry Utley was taken privately to Regional Medical Center for treatment of minor injuries. Long and the coach's two sons were taken to the same hospital by ambulance. Patrick and her two passengers, John Harris, 22, and Rachelle Hollis, 21, both of Madisonville, were also taken by ambulance to Regional Medical Center.
Manager Steve Fowler said Friday afternoon that the full extent of Long's injuries were not known. The right-handed pitcher was scheduled to return for tests Friday. Fowler said there is some concern over possible internal injuries.
Long will join Ethan Utley on injured reserve. Utley is still recovering from a broken hand suffered during his college season. Long will be replaced by outfielder Kirk Waligora, who will be moved from the reserve list, bringing Fowler's active roster to a full strength at 24 players.
However, losing Long, scheduled to start Saturday's game at Tradewater, will leave the club with only 10 active pitchers. Fowler is also awaiting the arrival of outfielder Pat Murphy and right-handed pitcher Paul Chiampa, whose classes at Bates College in Lewiston, Maine, do not end until today. They should be available by Monday at the latest.
Meantime, Perry Utley is expected to be in the dugout for tonight's game in Dawson Springs. The game, as well as the remaining two games in the three-game set, start at 7 p.m., at Riverside Park.
Thursday, May 28, 2009
The KIT League, or Kitty League, will open its fifth season Friday. The six-team circuit has become one of the nation's premier collegiate leagues drawing players from a wide area of the United States.
The league began in 2005 with four teams and expanded to six clubs the following year and has remained at that number. This season Sikeston, a charter member who was not active in 2008, has rejoined the league while Farmington, another charter member, will not be represented.
The league, over the winter, considered going to eight teams for the 2009 season when it appeared that Sikeston's return would leave the league with an unwieldy seven clubs. League members discussed creating an eighth franchise that would be a traveling team playing all of its games on the road while being based in Paducah and Mayfield.
Shaun Yarbrough of Paducah, currently head baseball coach at Mid-Continent University in Mayfield, would have managed the barnstorming squad and had begun assembling a roster. However, league owners decided in April that there was just not enough time to successfully expand to eight clubs, so the new franchise was put on hold and the Farmington club was given the year off.
The league will resume discussion of expansion at the end of this season.
All six teams for this season will be in action Friday, the first of a three-game weekend series for all clubs. Marion will be at defending regular season champion Tradewater, Sikeston will be at Fulton, and Owensboro, winner of the 2008 postseason, will be at home against Union City. The complete schedule is available at kitleague.com.
The league will again play a 50-game schedule with playoffs following the regular season.