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OCHS' Kovach sweeps honors

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By Mickey Patterson

NEW CASTLE – A lot of time in the batting cage and fielding groundballs paid off for Oldham County’s Josh Kovach.Kovach, a senior shortstop for the OCHS baseball team swept post-season honors voted as the top player in the Eighth Region and the 29th District by thecoaches.“It’s a great honor to get this,” Kovach said. “It means a lot that the coaches voted it.”A three-year starter for the Colonels, Kovach exploded on offense and defense this season in leading the Colonels to a 20-9 record and the district title.He hit .523 with 11 doubles, five home runs and drove in what is thought to be a school record 53 runs.“He had more plate appearances, more hits and more opportunities with runners on base and he definitely made the most of it,” OCHS coach Scott Gerlach said. “He came up so big as a senior leader for us this year. He’s been a starter since he was a sophomore and he really led the way for us.”Kovach spent a lot of time in the batting cage in the off season and fielding ground balls from his dad.“I wanted to go to the next level and that’s what it takes,” he said.Gerlach said as much as he improved on offense, his defense may have even been better at the key shortstop spot where he posted a .988 fielding percentage with just eight errors in more than 80 chances.“Big time, his fielding percentage from this year to last was night and day,” Gerlach said. “Last year he had something close to like 30 errors and this year less than 10. You could really tell he had matured physically and mentally in his approach to the game. He really helped us out in terms of the defense he gave us.”Kovach will go on to next level. He has signed to play at Mesa Community College in Mesa, Arizona, one of the best junior college programs in the west and Gerlach’s alma mater before he went on to play his final two seasons at the University of Louisville.He will move to Mesa soon to start playing in a wooden bat league by the middle of this month.While the Colonels fell in the regional semis last week to Henry County, Kovach said his senior year was a good one.“I think people were surprised at how well we did after losing all the guys we did from last year,” Kovach said. “I think we had a great season, a second 20-win season in a row is good.”Kovach was joined on the all-region team by OCHS senior pitcher Ian Andrews.After seeing limited appearances last season, Andrews emerged as the ace of the Colonels’ staff this season posting a 6-3 record in 10 games. He threw 62 and one-third innings with 59 strikeouts and 23 walks posting an ERA of 2.02.North Oldham placed two players, senior catcher Dylan Grandon and junior pitcher/shortstop Jason Sterrett on the team.Sterrett emerged as one of the region’s strong pitchers this year despite a 3-5 record. He threw 49 innings with 50 strikeouts. He was just as valuable at shortstop and at the plate for the Mustangs with a school record .476 batting average with six doubles and 23 RBIs. he also stole 11 bases.Sterrett was also selected as one of the region’s two juniors to play in the East-West state all-star game later this summer.Grandon, a four-year starter at catcher, has signed to play with Georgetown College next season. Grandon hit .370 this year seven doubles, two home runs and 22 RBIs.South Oldham placed senior Daniel Pulliam on the team. A pitcher/shortstop and three-year starter, Pulliam was a bright spot for the Dragons this season.Exeptionally solid in the field, Pulliam hit 264 for the Dragons with a home run and 16 RBIs.All-districtIn addition to the local players who made the all-region team, several more were honored with selection to the all-district team.Along with Andrews and Kovach, OCHS placed Taylor Riggs, Adam Pontrich, Jacob Wiese, Dylan Chisholm and Brad Reinbold on the team.Riggs, a freshman, was selected as a pitcher. The right-hander posted a 5-2 record this year throwing 41 innings with 36 strikeouts and 17 walks. Pontrich, a slick fielding senior second baseman, hit .389 from the leadoff spot for the Colonels with five doubles and two triples. He also had a fielding percentage of .958.Wiese and Chisholm made the team as outfielders. Wiese hit .435 this year from the No. 2 hole with seven doubles and 13 RBIs. He also stole 15 bases in 19 attempts. Chisholm, another freshman, hit .489 this year. Reinbold, a senior catcher, made the team as a utility choice. He hit .369 with a team-high nine doubles, two home runs and drove in 28 runs.NOHS’ Grandon and Sterrett were joined on the team by Austin Love and Nick Harley.Love, a sophomore, made the team as a pitcher. He posted a 5-3 record in 43 innings this year. Love struck out 44 batters against 37 walks and had an ERA of 2.35.Harley, a senior first baseman, made the team as a utility pick. He hit .363 for the Mustangs from the cleanup spot with 15 RBIs and six doubles.Pulliam was joined by outfielders Mike Davis and Alex Sharrard and catcher Jordan Ellis. Davis was one of the top defensive outfielders in the region and hit a team-high .330 for the Dragons this year with two triples, a home run and 13 RBIs. Ellis, a three-year starter, hit .295 with six doubles, a home run and 13 RBIs. Sharrard, a senior outfielder, hit .256 with two triples.2008 All 8th Region TeamPlayer of the Year - Josh Kovach, Oldham CountyRyan Pike, Anderson County, Sr.-P/OFJeremy Turpin, Anderson County, Jr.-P/SSScott Brown, Gallatin County, Sr.-SSJohn Cain, Grant County, Sr.-PJosh Cummins, Grant County, Sr.-SS/PScott Kelly, Grant County, Sr.-1BDylan Pelphrey, Grant County, So-P/OFBen Roberts, Henry County, Sr.-OFTommy Wilson, Henry County, Sr.-CDylan Grandon, North Oldham, Sr.-CJason Sterrett, North Oldham, Jr.-P/SSIan Andrews, Oldham County, Sr.-PJosh Kovach, Oldham County, Sr.-SSMichael Ogden, Owen County, Sr.--PJordan Burk, Shelby County, Sr.-PTyler, Layton, Shelby County, Sr.-P/SSEric Standifer, Shelby County, So.-1BJosh Brown, Simon Kenton, Sr.-SSJacob Robinson, Simon Kenton, Sr.-1B/PDaniel Pulliam, South Oldham, Sr.-SS/PCraig Edwards, Spencer County, Sr.-IFMichael Walters, Williamstown, Sr.-PAll-District TeamDistrict 29 Player of the YearInfield/pitcher - Josh Kovach - Oldham CountyPitcher - Ian Andrews - Oldham CountyPitcher - Taylor Riggs - Oldham CountyPitcher - Aaron Law - Trimble CountyPitcher - Austin Love - North OldhamCatcher - Dylan Grandon - North OldhamInfield - Daniel Pulliam - South OldhamInfield - Jason Sterrett - North OldhamInfield - Cory Curtis - Trimble CountyInfield - Adam Pontrich - Oldham CountyOutfield - Jacob Weise - Oldham CountyOutfield - Alex Scharrard - South OldhamOutfield - Dylan Chisholm - Oldham CountyOutfield - Michael Davis - South OldhamUtility - Brad Reinbold - Oldham CountyUtility - Jordan Ellis - South OldhamUtility - Nick Harley - North OldhamE-mail us about this story at: sports@oldhamera.com.