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Celebration Planned for Little League Team's Return

Aug 28, 2015

The Bowling Green Little League team will finally be coming home.

After winning two games in the Little League World Series and being on the road for more than a month, the boys will be returning home from Williamsport, Pennsylvania Sunday afternoon

They’ll fly into Nashville about 1:00, then have a police escort up to Bowling Green. A celebration is planned for Kereiakes Park beginning at 2:30.

There’ll be food and activities for the kids and they’ll be showing Saturday afternoon’s  Little League World Series championship game beginning at 2:00 Central time.

It was more difficult and took longer than the first game.

There were some nerve-wracking moments. Sweetwater Valley received more than a little help from an opponent kicking the ball around and throwing it away.

Of course, too, there were some balls hit over the fence.

Sweetwater Valley beat Bowling Green East, 11-3, on Tuesday night, a result that was far more of a challenge to achieve than Friday's 14-2, 3½-inning rout of the same opponent.

How another Little league World Series victory came didn’t really matter. It did.

"As long as we can capitalize ... I'm OK," Sweetwater Valley manager Ward Lannom said. "A win is a win."

Sweetwater Valley at the Little League World Series

Sweetwater Valley took a 3-0 lead in the top of the first inning before it even really started hitting -- on two singles, a walk, two errors and a passed ball.

Levi Mendez swelled that lead to 5-0 with a two-out line drive over the left field fence in the second inning. That hit was made possible when Antonio Andrade beat out a slow roller to first base.

Bowling Green got on the board and threatened to do more in the bottom of the fourth. Nate Nankil relieved SVLL starter Dante Schmid with two outs and the bases loaded, and after a wild pitch brought home the inning’s second run, Nankil got out of the inning with a strikeout.

Andrade led off the fifth with a long blast to the grassy hill beyond right field to end a run of six straight Sweetwater Valley strikeouts and push the lead to 6-2, and it went to 7-2 after Nankil doubled, went to third on Walker Lannom’s single and scored on a passed ball.

A fifth-inning home run cut the lead to four runs, and Bowling Green had a runner on first when Andrade speared a hard grounder to third base and threw out the runner to end the inning. That was one of a handful of fantastic fielding plays by SVLL on Tuesday.

After Sweetwater Valley scored four runs on two walks, one hit and two errors in the top of the sixth, Nankil closed out the save. Schmid earned his second victory of the Series.

Eli Burwash scored the go-ahead run in the bottom of the fifth inning then earned the save pitching as Bowling Green, Kentucky, avoided elimination Monday at the Little League World Series by beating Taylors, South Carolina 4-3.

Red Land dropped South Carolina into the losers' bracket Sunday night with a 9-8 comeback win.

Bowling Green will play Tuesday night against the winner of Monday night's game between Cranston, Rhode Island and Bonita, California.

Burwash struck out two batters and allowed only a walk during the sixth inning to preserve the win. He hit a leadoff double in the bottom of the fifth inning and scored the go-ahead run on Maddox Burr's infield single with two outs. Burwash also hit a leadoff home run in the first inning as Bowling Green built a 3-0 lead.

Taylors is the first South Carolina team to win a game at the series. Braden Golinski led the team with a two-run home run.

Bowling Green has won four straight elimination games since regionals.

Bowling Green's little league team got rained out at the Little League World Series in Williamsport, PA Thursday. They'll play their first tournament game Friday afternoon at 1:00 Central time on ESPN.

Bowling Green will take on the west regional champs California.

All Little League World Series were rained out Thursday; eight games will be played FRiday.

Kentucky will have a representative in the Little League World Series.

An eight-run explosion in the 2nd inning carried Kentucky's Bowling Green Little League team to a 13-0 win in four innings over Wisconsin Saturday to win the Great Lakes Regional Championship.

The last time a Kentucky team won the Great Lakes Region was La Grange in 2011.

The Bowling Green team now goes on to face the West Regional Champion Sweetwater Valley from Oregon in the first round of the Little League World Series in Williamsport, PA. That game will be Thursday evening.

The team went right to Pennsylvania following Saturday's game in Indianapolis. Their head coach Rick Kelley told WKU Public Radio the 11, 12 and 13 year old boys don't really show their emotion on their sleeve but, "they have to be overwhelmed by the whole sight."

Their dorm overlooks the field they'll be playing on during the Series.

Kelley said many of the boys have never even been out of Warren County before so it's "good to see them taking advantage of this once-in-a-lifetime experience." Kelley says they're hanging out in the stadium's rec room playing Ping Pong with players from other teams who are there from all over the world.

Kelley said, "It's really amazing to see how much the boys have matured in just the last six weeks, but this takes then to a whole other level. They're missing a lot of classroom time back home, but they're learning more life experience on this trip than they ever could in the classroom."

Seven new members will be inducted into the Kentucky Athletic Hall of Fame Wednesday night in Louisville.

The inductees include former WKU women's basketball coach Paul Sanderford and former Major League Baseball umpire Randy Marsh, a native of Northern Kentucky.

Hall of Fame President Jim Ellis says Marsh worked dozens of big events during his 28 year career, including five World Series and four All-Star games. “Kind of guy you could sit and listen to forever," Ellis said, "He’s got stories about past players that a lot of us grew up watching on television, and he actually umpired and got nose-to-nose with some of them.”

Other inductees include Keeneland Race Course, former Fairdale High School basketball coach Lloyd Gardner, Laurel County basketball standout Sharon Garland, track star Shandy Boyd Smith of Louisville, and Mel Purcell, who played on the pro tennis tour and is the men’s tennis coach at Murray State University.

Instead of turning in a $2 ticket that would pay $3.80 for American Pharoah winning the Belmont Stakes, most people who bought the tickets are hanging on to them as keepsakes — or even investments.

American Pharoah became the first horse since Affirmed in 1978 to win the venerable Triple Crown. The 3-year-old colt entered Saturday's race as a heavy favorite — and it seems that thousands of people who bet on him to win were doing so in the hopes of getting a souvenir.

Kentucky News Network

Triple Crown champion American Pharoah returned home to Churchill Downs Sunday as his handlers prepared for boisterous celebrations 37 years in the making.

Less than 24 hours after winning the Belmont Stakes to become the 12th Triple Crown winner and first since 1978, the bay colt received the VIP treatment upon his return to Louisville.

Police escorted American Pharoah's transport van from the airport to trainer Bob Baffert's Barn 33, and the horse was cheered like a rock star by hundreds of fans as his entrance was broadcast over the jumbo screen overlooking the storied track.

The energy figures to ratchet up for the horse, whose display in the adjacent Kentucky Derby museum was updated to reflect his historic achievement.

Churchill Downs' famous twin spires will display Zayat Stables' turquoise-and-gold colors all week.

WKU Athletics

WKU has a new leader of its baseball team. The school will introduc John Pawlowski Thursday afternoon as the new head coach of the Hilltopper baseball program.

Pawlowski formally coached at Auburn and the College of Charleston, and has been to 11 NCAA tournaments as either a head coach or assistant coach.

WKU announced last month that Matt Myers wouldn’t be retained following four seasons as the school’s baseball coach.

Here's a look at Pawlowski's coaching career:

Pawlowski’s Coaching Career

2014-15: San Diego State Assistant Coach (2 Years; 2 NCAA Tournaments)

2009-13: Auburn Head Coach (5 Years; 167-126 Record, and 1 NCAA Tournament)

2000-08: College of Charleston Head Coach (9 Years; 338-192 Record)

WKU

WKU and EKU have agreed to a four-year men’s basketball series beginning this December.

The teams will alternate home games over the four years, with the first game next season at E.A. Diddle Arena in Bowling Green.

The Hilltoppers and Colonels have played 154 times, dating back to the 1914-15 season.

The schools were Ohio Valley Conference rivals for 34 years, starting in 1948.

WKU has announced head baseball coach Matt Myers will not return for another season.

WKU Athletics Director Todd Stewart says a national search for the next Hilltopper coach will begin immediately.

The team just wrapped upped its fourth season under Myers with a 24-28 record overall and a 10-19 record in Conference USA. They missed qualifying for the conference tournament for the first time since 1998.

In announcing Myers' termination, Stewart wrote in a news release that the team's record over the past four years didn't meet his expectations. He added, "We must have more success in conference play and the postseason."

Myers became head coach in 2012 after being on the staff since 2008. The team went 106-118 overall during his tenure, 54-65 in conference games and just 1-6 in conference tournament games.

WKU is reaching out to team members and recruits following this week's announcement that the school is suspending its men's and women's swimming and diving teams for five years due to hazing violations.

The Bowling Green Daily News is reporting that president Gary Ransdell and athletic director Todd Stewart have sent personalized letters to swim team alumni saying WKU is “directly assisting” recruits who have committed to the team for the upcoming season.

Part of the letter also states “our athletic academic advising staff will continue to work with team members who choose to stay at WKU and support their progression toward their degree.”

Some recruits were set to sign with WKU as soon as Wednesday.

WKU Athletics

Bill Powell retired in 2005 after 36 years at the helm of the WKU men's swimming and diving program. During that time period, his teams won 15 conference titles and the Natatorium at WKU is named after him.

Powell posted a response on his Facebook page this week after Tuesday's announcement that WKU is suspending the men's and women's swimming and diving programs following an investigation that uncovered underage drinking, hazing, and other abuses within the program.

Here is his response in full from his Facebook page:

Dear WKU Swimmers, Divers, Friends, and Supporters,

I am devastated at the loss of WKU Swimming and Diving—an athletic program that has graduated virtually all of its team members over a 45-year period. As Dr. Ransdell himself admits, the team has collected too many academic honors to list and its student-athletes have “represented WKU with distinction in the classroom and in competition.” I am certainly proud of what you all have accomplished.

I have been retired from the WKU swim program for a while, so my knowledge of the alleged incidents is no more than what everyone else has seen in the papers. It appears that the transgressions were perpetrated primarily by one or two team members, and no criminal charges have been filed.

WKU

WKU is suspending its Swimming and Diving program for five years, effective immediately. The university informed the team members and coaching staff of the decision Tuesday morning.

The move comes after investigations by the Bowling Green Police Department and university uncovered evidence of violations of WKU’s Student Code of Conduct, Discrimination and Harassment Policy, and Title IX Sexual Misconduct/Assault Policy.

In an email sent to school faculty and staff Tuesday, President Ransdell said those violations included hazing and underage alcohol consumption involving team members and recruits. Ransdell said coaches were aware of the “pervasive culture” of abuse with the program and failed to prevent it.

"This University simply will not tolerate indecent, immoral, physical, or mental acts of disrespect or abuse among our students. We must all embrace a culture where every student is as important as any student," Dr. Ransdell said in his email. "When this culture is not embraced, we will act swiftly and firmly to ensure that the dignity and integrity of the institution is sustained. It is our hope that over the next five years, the pervasive culture of misconduct and lack of sufficient oversight in this program will be flushed from our campus life."

The investigations into the Swimming and Diving programs at WKU began when a former swim team member filed a report with city police claiming he was assaulted by teammates and forced to drink alcohol during several hazing incidents.

Current swimming and diving team members will be able to transfer immediately to other schools. Those choosing to remain at WKU will have their scholarships honored through their senior years.

The positions currently held by Head Swimming Coach Bruce Marchionda, Associate Head Coach Brian Thomas, and Head Diving Coach Chelsea Ale will be eliminated June 30.

UK Athletics

A record seven members of the University of Kentucky men’s basketball team announced they will enter the NBA draft.

The seven were UK’s top scorers during their 38-1 season that ended last weekend with a loss to Wisconsin in the Final Four.

At a press conference Thursday in Lexington, Junior Willie Cauley-Stein, sophomores Dakari Johnson and Andrew and Aaron Harrison and freshmen Karl-Anthony Towns, Trey Lyles and Devin Booker all said they’ve decided to turn pro.

“I mean, of course it was a tough decision for all of us,” Guard Aaron Harrison said. “But I think this is all of our dreams so we just want to chase our dreams, really.”

Coach John Calipari said he did not to try to convince anyone to stay or leave, but arranged meetings with the players, their families and NBA team officials early this week to discuss their pro prospects.

“I’m not convincing anyone to stay and I’m not pushing anybody out the door,” Calipari said. “This is their choice with their family.”

Karl-Anthony Towns could be the first player chosen overall on June 28. Cauley-Stein and Lyles could soon follow, with both projected as possible lottery selections. Booker is also a potential first-rounder, with the rest projected to go in the second.

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