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Several times during the current baseball season, I have had discussions about the best players to take the diamond in Anderson County history. This sports buzz is simple: Who are the best you have seen? And who are the best opponent's you have seen?
From this corner, picking the best Anderson baseball players is difficult. There have been no true superstars to come through Anderson County, although one, Matt McWilliams, appeared to be heading that way until arm problems ended his career.
I will name McWilliams as the best pitcher I have ever seen at Anderson. He came along at a time when he had little offensive support, so he knew if he gave up more than one run, chances were he would not get a victory. Outstanding control and left-handed was a formula for success. He was drafted by the Reds and I know from talking with Ted Power, his pitching coach at Billings, and with his coach at Dayton (I can't recall his name now!) that the Reds really liked Matt. Too bad that arm problems ended his career.
Some other pitchers that stand out in my mind are Mike Russell, Klein Perry, David Todd, Tim Hamilton and Justin Smith and Aaron Burkhead. I have been told of the exploits of Travis Cheak and Philip Thurman, but I was away from Lawrenceburg for a couple of years and they pitched during that time. Sean Burford was mighty good, too.
Best position players? Again no superstars. Joe Smith and Matt Richardson both played Division I ball, with Richardson going to the College World Series with Mississippi State. Dylan Holt and Ryan Pike were mighty good outfielders who could hit and pitch too. Current player Jeremy Turpin was listed in the top 50 in Kentucky this year.
There are undoubtedly others.
Best team? The 2002 and 2004 teams were awfully good but lost in the regional final. The current team has been ranked, a first at Anderson. Some teams in the mid-70s were very good and the 1969 team was as well.
Best opponent? Position player is easy: Shelby County's Lee Tinsley, who made it to the big leagues and is now a coach for the Arizona Diamondbacks. Could do it all. PRP's Zach Cox and Zack Osborne last year could join him. Best pitcher? Lafayette threw Chaz Roe at Anderson one time, but the most dominating performance had to come from Male's Scott Green in the 2003 state tourament. It doesn't get much better than a perfect game.
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