Allison doesn't mind double duty
Clark baseball coach Larry Allison also serves as an assistant coach on the boys basketball team. (James Mannemail@example.com)
Allison, also an assistant coach on the boys basketball team, pulled double-duty when baseball workouts began on Feb. 15. Allison had just seven days to prepare for his team’s season-opener after the Cards lost to Louisville Eastern in the quarterfinals of the Boys Sweet 16.
“I just went out there and did what I’ve always done,” he said. “It’s hard, and I’m not going to tell anybody it’s not hard, but it gets to the point where you have to just re-energize yourself when you get into baseball. It was tough to do this year, because of all the bad weather.”
After trading his basketball for a bat, Allison and his squad endured a roller-coaster ride that featured just five home games, including one during the final two months of the regular season.
“We played 80 percent of our home games the first week of the season,” he said with a laugh.
During the wet spring, Allison liked the way his team “stayed focused” in the batting cage and took advantage of swinging the bats.
“It gets hot and you’re doing the same old boring stuff every day with hitting drills,” he said. “They did a good job with that, but once we got some dry weather and got on the field, they played a little better. We’re still not there yet, but we hope in three or four more days we might get there.”
During the 40th District Tournament, Allison’s mother passed away, but the Clark coach remained with the team and missed just one game — the first six innings of a 10-4 loss to Bourbon County in the district finals — while dealing with a death in the family.
“Three weeks before she passed, she asked is ball over?” Allison said. “I¿don’t know why she asked, because she’s always very supportive of me, and I said well, yeah it’s basically over, mom. She said, ‘good,’ and I asked why it was good and she said I need you to stay with me.”
During the entire ordeal, Allison received support from his team and coaching staff and gave the coach a surprise on the bus after winning the regional title.
“After the regional tournament was over, they brought me a signed ball (from the regional championship),” he said. “I love them to death. They’re good kids.
Allison’s team opened the 10th¿Region Tournament with an 8-1 win over Mason County followed by a 6-5 triumph over Campbell County in the semifinals. The following night, Clark clinched its first region title in four years with a 14-4 victory over Bourbon¿County in five innings.
The state appearance will be the Cards’ first under the current format. Clark lost a three-game series to eventual state champion Dunbar in the semi-state in 2007 and was defeated by Covington Catholic in the sectionals in 2002. Like Dunbar, Catholic went on to win the state title. Clark also lost to Boone County in a semi-state series in 2003.
Allison likes the 16-team, single elimination format and hopes it remains intact in the future.
“I like it,” he said. “I hope they stick with it.”