By Paul Hines
MT. VERNON — The Rams baseball team will be making a trip to Kentucky next season.
Mt. Vernon will compete in a two-day event in Paducah, Ky. April 18-19. The city is located about 90 minutes south of Mt. Vernon.
The Rams are slated to play two games on Friday and another on Saturday. Mt. Vernon opens the non-tournament event at McCracken County High School against Memphis (Tenn.) University High School at 11:30 a.m. Friday. They will face Bartlett (Tenn.) at 1:30 p.m. the same day.
“Memphis U high will be a good baseball program,” Mt. Vernon coach Tim Holloway said. “That's going to be a tough test, and then we turn around and play Bartlett Tennessee, who won 26 games last year.”
Mt. Vernon wraps up the event with an 11 a.m. Saturday matchup with Henderson County (Ky.) at Brooks Stadium in Paducah. Henderson finished last season 33-9 and advanced to the final four of the Kentucky state tournament.
“These are all very good teams that we'll play, good programs, and it should be a good trip for us,” Holloway said.
The baseball coach at McCraken County High School called Holloway this summer about the newly formed event.
“He said he wanted to bring some good teams in for a weekend in April and wanted to know if we were interested,” Holloway said. “I told him we were definitely interested, and it worked out to where we were going to be able to go.”
Holloway added that he believes scheduling challenging teams is good for his team.
“Even if you come up short at times against these teams they always expose your weaknesses and allow you to get better,” Holloway said. “In the end, you're going to be better because of it.”
Mt. Vernon will enter the spring season after losing numerous starters. The Rams ended the year with fourth-place finish at the state final and 31 wins.
“We lost eight of our nine position players so this will be a good experience for them,” Holloway said. “(We'll) get away from home, get out of our comfort zone a little bit and go play some very good competition and see where we're at.”
The Rams baseball team also has a golf fundraiser coming up Oct. 12. The event will be held at Green Hills Golf Course in Mt. Vernon. The money raised will go toward equipment and trips the team takes to minor league ballparks like Rent One Park (Marion) and GCS Park (Sauget).
“The golf outing is a good way for people in the community as well as former Mt. Vernon athletes to come out and show their support and enjoy a day of golf and have a good time and maybe reconnect with former teammate,” Holloway said. “It's some thing we hope to turn into an annual event.”