Old scorebooks, part 10 — Future big-leaguers in ’94 final four
Between them, Scott Downs and Brad Wilkerson played major league baseball for more than 20 years, which tells you something about the star power they brought to the high school baseball final four in 1994.
Downs was an undefeated senior lefthanded pitcher for Pleasure Ridge Park. Wilkerson was an undefeated junior lefthanded pitcher and standout center fielder for Apollo.
Before the semifinals, PRP Coach Bill Miller and Apollo Coach Bob Mantooth had to decide when to use their aces.
Miller sent Downs to the mound for the Panthers in their semifinal matchup with Lexington Catholic, and he threw a three-hitter and struck out 15 as PRP beat Dom Fucci’s Knights 3-1. Downs improved to 13-0 on the season, with 175 K’s in 80 innings. (He finished his career 24-0.)
Mantooth tried to save Wilkerson, who had an 11-0 record and 0.71 ERA, for the finals. The strategy failed. Error-plagued Apollo lost to Corbin 5-4 in the semifinals. Wilkerson, who brought a .505 batting average into the game, had an RBI double for Apollo, but Corbin Coach Randall Sawyers limited Wilkerson’s opportunities by intentionally walking him twice.
In the championship game at Kentucky Wesleyan College, PRP rallied from an early 6-0 deficit to beat Corbin 10-8 for its first state title.
Downs and Wilkerson went on to have terrific college careers — Downs at Kentucky and Wilkerson at Florida.
Downs was a third-round draft choice of the Chicago Cubs in 1997. He played 14 years in the big leagues for seven teams. He came out of the bullpen most of his career and appeared in 619 games, worked 750 innings, struck out 575 and had a 3.56 ERA.
Wilkerson was a first-round draft choice of the Montreal Expos in 1998. He played 8 seasons as an outfielder in the majors for five teams. He appeared in 972 games, had 788 hits (.247 average), 500 runs and 122 home runs.
Here are the scorebook pages from the PRP vs. LexCath semifinal:
Here are the scorebook pages from the Apollo vs. Corbin semifinal:
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