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New adult league, Yo Momma Basketball, brings back memories of pool ball

Charlie Scott invites everybody to his dunking good time in the Yo Momma Basketball adult league in Central Park this summer.

Charlie Scott learned how to play basketball in the School of Hard Knocks on the concrete courts in Central Park.

He had more than a few skinned knees and elbows but there were lessons he took with him on the organized basketball courts later. “Bill Bradley would come out there in his Converse and just put it on us,” he said. “Dirtiest player I ever played against.”

Bradley would consider being called the “dirtiest player” that Scott ever matched up against a great compliment.

Smart, dirty, you get the idea. Bradley may even call it “crafty” and his 37 years of running the CLEM extravaganza in his backyard court says everything you need to know about his love for outdoor basketball.

Many of the greatest teams and players in area history cut their teeth on summer basketball games at Southside Pool, Dreamland Pool and Central Park. Teams at Southside and Dreamland would stay up until somebody beat them. Some of the best Tomcat teams from the 1950s through the 1980s sharpened their skills and teamwork abilities at the pools and the park.

Scott said he’d like to see some high school players put together teams for the league and learn like he did – from some hard knocks of older players who knew their way around a concrete court and knew how to put the young guys on their butts.

“We’re missing that toughness and this brings that out in players,” Scott said. “I just want to do something that makes me smile, to help basketball be where it should be in Ashland.”

Scott’s dream is to bring the Central Park courts alive again with an adult basketball league named Yo Momma Basketball. It’s for male and female, high school age and up. The league has a start date of June 18 and goes through August 11. They will play games every Monday, Tuesday and Thursday at 6, 7 and 8 p.m. Teams will play three games per week and they will be officiated. There will be a postseason tournament with the winning team getting individual trophies, championship t-shirts and a return of the entry fee.

Cost is $500 per team but some simple math shows that a 10-man team pays only $50 per person. Each player receives a t-shirt and is in the running for the league Most Valuable Player award.

The league has been approved by the Central Park board and Scott is promising a good time with games being played and music blaring from the courts near Central Avenue. He’s passionate about making it work enough to even dress up like “Yo Momma” for some promotional photographs and videos.

It could be a business would like to sponsor a team for the summer. Teams are guaranteed three games a week through the eight-week season. That means 24 games per team. Learn more by calling Charlie at (606) 585-4029.

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Jody Hamilton, Kentucky’s greatest high school baseball coach, retiring after 37 seasons

Ever the gentleman, Jody Hamilton walks his wife of 37 years Denise back to her car hand-in-hand after last week’s district tournament. Jody told his West Jessamine players on Sunday that this season will be his last.

ASHLAND, Ky.  – Thirty-seven is enough for No. 37.

Jody Hamilton, who has to be in the conversation as the greatest high school baseball coach in Kentucky history, told his players at West Jessamine High School on Sunday night that this will be his last season. The Colts begin 12th Region tournament play on Monday.

Hamilton, who two years ago was the National High School Athletic Coaches Association’s Coach of the Year and has won state championships at Boyd County in 2001 and West Jessamine in 2015, notched his 938th career victory when West Jessamine defeated East Jessamine 3-2 to win the 46th District title for the seventh year in a row last week.

The Colts are 22-10 and have won seven games in a row, peaking at the right time in typical fashion of Hamilton’s teams. They play Rockcastle County in the regional tournament opener

Hamilton, who has worn No. 37 throughout his playing and coaching careers, cracked into coaching at Raceland, where he endured his only losing season. The Rams were 13-15 in 1986 while playing every single game on the road. Raceland won the district crown in ’86, anyway, and was the home team on the scoreboard for the first time — in 28 total games — in the opening round of the 16th Region Tournament.

Hamilton moved to Boyd County and captured his first of 11 region championship trophies with the Lions in 1988, taking them to the state championship game. Casey Hamilton, Jody’s son, helped bring Boyd County to a state title in 2001. The coach has been at West Jessamine since 2004. The Colts have collected four region crowns (2008, ’10, ’15, ’16) under his leadership.

Winning the state championship and getting attention from college recruiters for his players was always the goal for Hamilton, who  estimated 70 percent of the seniors who played for him found themselves on college rosters.

A 1976 graduate of Ashland, Hamilton enjoyed a tremendous career at Morehead State University that included winning the Ohio Valley Conference Triple Crown before playing for the minor-league Paintsville Yankees. He was with the Yankees on the night that Darryl Strawberry made his professional debut with the Kingsport Mets in Paintsville, Ky. Despite hitting better than .300 for the Yankees, he felt the calling to coach and the rest, as they say, is history.

Hamilton elevated not only the way baseball was played in the 16th Region but brought it to a level the area hadn’t seen since Ashland dominated in the 1960s. He also was responsible for getting the Luther Craig Baseball Complex built at Boyd County with the help of Addington to become the envy of eastern Kentucky. Baseball fields began popping up throughout the region and Boyd County’s showplace was the reason why. As the places to play became special for other teams, the level of play began to rise too. It was either get better or get left behind because Hamilton was in it to win it every year.

His teams became known for excellence throughout the state and  hundreds of his players – and even many who played against him -went on to become college baseball players and later coaches on a number of different levels. Hamilton moved to the highly competitive 12th Region with West Jessamine, but continued to produce baseball that rivaled anybody in the state. He was the ultimate teacher of the game.

Jody Hamilton was among the inaugural selections into the Ashland Baseball CP-1 Hall of Fame in 2015.

By the way, 37 had another significant meaning for No. 37. He and wife Denise have been married for 37 years. They have two children, Casey and Neena, two grandsons and a granddaughter on the way. Jody and Denise also have a healthy bee farm they tend to in Jessamine County.

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By George, this Sports Day will be special to me for more than the obvious

For as long as anybody can remember, George Stout has been the chairman of the Elks Sports Day committee.

This year, the 44th in the annual summer event, will be his last. I’ve worked alongside George for probably three decades of his planning Sports Day weekends and that makes me being the honoree for the Elks Sports Day on June 16 all the more special. I’m still not convinced that my photograph belongs on that wall of greatness in the Elks Lodge.

Flipping through pages of a scrapbook recognizing the first 16 Sports Day honorees made me realize even more that I’m in elite company. All-Americans, an Olympian, football and basketball greats and coaching legends, a marketing genius, community leaders who impacted hundreds, a Rose Bowl participant, a major league umpire who was a part of two World Series are only a few of the past honorees.

I’m honestly not sure how my photo fits up there with such legendary people. And I’ll tell you another one that deserves a spot somewhere: George Stout. Nobody – and I mean nobody- has done more for this program than him. Anybody who has played a part in Sports Day understands how much George means to the program. He’s a do-it-all machine, organizing everything down to the smallest detail, down to what the person who introduces the honoree is supposed to say word for word. Let me just say this and the Elks know it’s true: Without George Stout’s passion for this program, it would be kaput by now. He has nearly single-handedly kept it alive and we should all be thankful.

George has been around the block. He was witness to the first game ever played in Putnam Stadium and then saw the last one before the walls came down to make way for the “new” Putnam Stadium. He has been a friend to this community longer than I’ve been alive and still drives meals to shut-ins during the club’s Thanksgiving and Christmas feeds.

George deserves a good sendoff. It would be fitting to set the attendance record on his last night as chairman. The program will be a one-day affair with the reception and banquet on the same night. Charlie Reliford, one of the best storytellers you will ever hear and a former Sports Day honoree, is the speaker. If you’ve never heard Charlie speak, you are in for a treat. If you have heard him, you know he’s worth the price of the ticket. Reception food, Elks famous baked steak and Charlie Reliford speaking for $30? It’s worth the price.

I’m not asking for me, although I’d love to see players and coaches I’ve covered through the years in attendance along with my friends and family, but let’s make the last Sports Day that George will be the man a night he will never forget too. I know it will be one that I’ll never forget.

Like George, I was no athlete. I was only a witness to the greatness that has come from the Ashland area. Of the previous 43 honorees, I’ve covered nearly all of them one way or the other and about 27 of them directly. Many of them I didn’t see compete as athletes, but I’ve written about them as part of the glorious history of this area. What an honor that was for me to tell the stories of the great individuals on the wall.

Do I belong up there? I’m not sure but the recognition, while maybe not deserved in my eyes, is humbly appreciated.

We’ll have to get about 250 there for the record. Can we do it Ashland?

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June 1 deadline for Putnam Stadium donor wall, commemorative bricks

ASHLAND, Ky. – Ashland Tomcat fans who want to have a Donor Wall inscription or a commemorative brick at Putnam Stadium before the start of the 2018 football season have about a month to decide. The deadline to place an order is June 1.

Donor Wall inscriptions come at four levels with costs between $500 and $10,000. Here are the categories:

-Tomcat Touchdown Club: $10,000 or more

-Tomcat Maroon and White Club: $5,000-$9,999

-Tomcat Paws Club: $1,000-$4,999

-Tomcat Pride Club: $500-$999

The commemorative bricks and Donor Wall inscriptions display family names, “In Honor” of or “In Memory” of for family members or friends, teachers, players, band members, cheerleaders, fans, classes, etc.

For a donation of $100 or $175 you can have a brick placed in the Donor’s Corner with an inscription that you choose (name or family name, etc.).

4×8 brick:  $100 (3 lines/20 characters each line (this includes spacing and punctuation)

8×8 brick: $175 (6 lines/20 characters each line (this includes spacing and punctuation)

Complete the order form with inscription and contact information, then send the form and check to: The Putnam Stadium Restoration Foundation P.O. Box 3000 Ashland, KY 41105-3000 or deliver to Donna Childers Suttle at the South Ashland Greenhouse, just a block from Putnam Stadium.

Forms can be found on the stadium website at www.putnamstadium.com

Contributions to the Putnam Stadium Restoration Foundation are deemed charitable under section 170 (b) (1) (A) (vi) of the Internal Revenue code as an organization described in Section 501 (c) 3.  U.S. Federal Tax ID 26-1674277.  Please consult your accountant for any clarifications.