While hundreds of thousands gathered on the Great Lawn last Saturday afternoon, DeSales High School pitcher Jarrett Luckett was bringing some thunder of his own to Preston Highway.
The senior lefty held No. 1 Male to just one run on six hits and struck out seven to give the Colts a shocking 3-1 victory over the host Bulldogs in the Earl Driskell Memorial Tournament.
“Jarrett was absolutely lights-out,” said first-year DeSales coach John Hodges.
It was a gutsy performance from a player who only a year ago wasn’t sure he would ever step foot on the mound again.
Last March, after a team fundraising activity at the Kentucky Exposition Center, Luckett jumped into the passenger seat of teammate Ryan Ritchey’s 1996 Honda Civic and the two began the 15-minute trip to Luckett’s home.
Just minutes later, Luckett looked up at the road after sending a text message and saw an ambulance (not on a run) attempting a left turn directly in their path.
“Everything was going through my mind at that point,” he said. “I just tried to brace myself.”
It was no use. Luckett and Ritchey were immediately thrust into a slow-motion nightmare as the Civic smashed into the side of the ambulance.
Ritchey and the ambulance driver walked away with no major injuries. Luckett was not so fortunate.
“Even when I was in shock I knew something was wrong,” he recalled. “I took my seat belt off and got my right leg out. I went to pick my left leg up and half of it went and half of it stayed.”
He had broken his femur. A week in the hospital was followed by a month on crutches and three more grueling months in physical therapy. Luckett didn’t play a single inning his junior season.
The thought of never making it back to the field entered his head, but Luckett said “My parents and physical therapist, my coach and my teammates just kept me going. They just kept giving me confidence that I would come back.”
And come back he has. This season, Luckett is 3-1 with two saves and has been an asset in relief for the Colts, who were 9-13 entering this week.
“We’ve been using him mainly as a closer because of his curveball,” said Hodges. “All high school kids have a curveball, but Jarrett has a special curveball. It’s a nasty breaker for a left-handed guy.”
Luckett’s play this season has earned him an offer from St. Catharine College and he is considering Spalding University as well.
Although he’s now shed the limp he carried for most of the last year, the confidence and self-awareness Luckett gained from his recovery are here to stay.
“I’m not a quitter,” he said. “It doesn’t matter what it is, I won’t quit until I finally get past what I need to get past.”
Mercy and Ballard took home titles at the sixth-annual BraveHeart Girls Lacrosse Tournament on April 22.
The 12-team varsity tournament hosted by Sacred Heart was broken into two divisions.
In the Red Division final, Mercy got four goals from sophomore Rachel Beavin and edged Oldham County 6-5. Caroline Johnson netted two goals and senior goalie Amanda Brown charted 15 saves to lead Oldham.
Senior Hannah Maddox and junior Natalie Hendrix got two goals apiece and goalie Elizabeth Roberts made 14 saves as Ballard whipped Assumption 7-1 for the Blue Division title.
Track & Field
The 27th annual Eastern Relays will be held this Friday and Saturday (April 27 & 28) at the University of Louisville’s Cardinal Park.
The meet will feature athletes from eight states and a host of outstanding locals, including Butler’s Tretez Kinnaird (800) and Patrick Gregory (3200), Holy Cross’ Jacob Thomson (3200, 1600), Ballard’s Ronnie Baker (100, 400), Trinity’s James Quick (200), and Cassidy and Kristen Hale of Manual. Runners’ events are subject to change.
“I feel like this is the strongest field we’ve ever put together,” said Eastern coach and meet organizer, Mike Horan.
Competition gets underway at 6 p.m. Friday and resumes at 9:30 a.m. Saturday.
Twelve Assumption seniors recently inked national letters-of-intent to play college athletics. The signees were Chelsea Bowles (volleyball, Tennessee-Martin), Morgan Foley (softball, Indianapolis), Phoenix Fowler (volleyball, Bellarmine), Katie George (volleyball, Louisville), Logan Higgins (soccer, Tennessee-Chattanooga), Spencer Kurtzahn (lacrosse, Otterbein), Elizabeth Lohr (cross-country/track, Centre), Taylor Long (volleyball, Jacksonville State), Caroline McCaslin (cross-country/track, Elon), Olivia Reibel (track, Bellarmine), Melanie Strothman (cross-country/track, Bellarmine) and Dallas Zimmerman (volleyball, Tennessee-Martin).
Contact columnist Chris Cahill at email@example.com.