UNION – With the weather bothering everyone so far this season in high school baseball, the Ryle High School baseball team is happy to finally be playing regularly.
Head coach Pat Roesel was also happy to play a full three games in the Doc Morris Invitational, in which his Raiders were one of the hosts April 16-18. The showcase honors a deceased former Northern Kentucky umpire and proceeds are used for local scholarship funds.
“It’s a great tournament for a great cause, scholarships for the kids,” said Roesel, who has been Ryle’s only head baseball coach since the school opened in 1992. “He was here when I was playing and when I started coaching.”
The Doc Morris changed from its former tournament format to an invitational showcase this year, with 24 teams playing in six sites, four teams at each site all playing each other. It’s a big change from the 16-team single-elimination format, which held form for many years. In its current form, every team plays three games instead of potentially only one.
Among the visitors to the tournament were 2014 state champion Louisville St. Xavier, several other top Kentucky teams, and Cincinnati power Moeller. Ryle went 2-0 in its bracket, beating Newport Central Catholic and Cooper and tying Boyd County 4-4 in a game suspended by darkness. Ryle is 7-8 with that tie as well.
“It’s nice to change the format that we had and get some teams like Boyd County. Moeller coming over, Glen Este,” Roesel said. “It’s been good for the whole tournament to help these guys get here. Teams will come up for three games and it gives teams around the state a chance to see the type of baseball we play up here. There’s some good baseball in the Ninth.”
Leadoff hitter Brady Ast, a senior, had two hits and two runs scored against Cooper. He led off Ryle’s three-run first inning with a double. Ryle left 13 runners on base, which was a concern for Roesel. Alex Goodridge notched the win on the mound.
It’s the second time the Union rivals played in a seven-day period. The teams were set to reunite again April 22 in what will be the official seeding game for the 33rd District Tournament. Ryle has already lost to Boone County and beat Conner in district play.
“It’s been really nice to have a couple of days when we don’t have rain,” Roesel said. “We need to get kids hitting and get them in rhythm. And that’s what it’s all about with hitting and pitching – getting into a routine.”
Ryle will next play at Scott Saturday, April 25.
“When we field the ball, we have a chance. We haven’t hit the ball consistently but our pitching has been good enough to keep us in games, and we field.”
Follow James Weber on Twitter, @JWeberSports