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Owensboro Catholic has good numbers going to baseball state tourney

Owensboro Catholic has the third best RPI of the 16 teams in the KHSAA State Baseball Tournament this week in Lexington.

The Aces have the No. 9 RPI in the state, and that is behind only Louisville Trinity (No. 2) and Pleasure Ridge Park (No. 5) in this state tournament field.

Catholic will play Corbin on Friday at 4 p.m. CT in the seventh of eight opening round games at Legends Field in Lexington.

The KHSAA State Tournament opens with four games Thursday. Trinity (36-4) will meet Pikeville (25-9) in a 12:30 p.m. game. PRP (36-3) will take on LaRue County (19-17) at 4 p.m.

Those teams are on the opposite side of the bracket from Owensboro Catholic (29-7). Corbin is 30-10 and has a No. 27 RPI.

Corbin has Division 1 level talent on its squad. Shortstop Kade Elam is committed to Louisville. Walker Landrum is a first baseman who’s committed to Morehead State. Pitcher Bradric Helton has committed to Lincoln Memorial.

Owensboro Catholic counters with catcher Brady Atwell as a Western Kentucky University commitment, and center fielder Deuce Sims going to Kentucky Wesleyan College.

“Corbin is very athletic, very experienced,” Catholic coach Jody Hamilton said. “I think there are a lot of similarities with them and us. We both play good defense, we both have good pitching. They may be a little older than us.”

Catholic has seven players in its everyday lineup hitting .300 or better.

Parker Heistand is batting .374 and is one of five players with at least 22 RBIs. Atwell leads the team with 31 RBIs and is batting .348. Sims has 29 RBIs to go with a .293 batting average and a team-high six home runs.

Luke Quinn has a 1.24 ERA to lead Catholic’s deep stable of pitchers. Ben Hyland has 39 strikeouts in 39.1 innings and a 1.94 ERA.

Corbin has five players batting over .300, led by Noah Cima at .382. Corbin has hit for power with four players belting at least five home runs each. Mikey Neal leads the way with nine home runs.

Helton has 80 strikeouts in 47 innings, and he leads four Corbin pitchers with at least 42 strikeouts.

Hamilton feels like the Aces are confident going into the state tournament.

“We’re going to have to take care of things our way, just play up to out capabilities and see what happens,” Hamilton said. “We feel like with schedule we played we can beat anybody. It’s not every day we get to go to state tournament, we want to go play and have fun.”