Into the hills of Kentucky

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By Josh Veatch

Jessica, Karli, and I headed to eastern Kentucky recently to watch the Marion County 11- and 12-year-old All-Stars compete in the state Little League Tournament along with many of you. Personally, I had never traveled to eastern Kentucky much, and was I in for a surprise. Jessica and Karli, along with her mom and a friend and her daughter, had previously made the trek to Prestonsburg on Tuesday evening. While in route, they were notified the game had been rained out and backed up a day. Well, they were only about 45 minutes from their destination, and with two small children in the car, they decided to go ahead and complete their journey. Can't say as I blame them.
They got to watch the local team complete their sweep in pool play against Knox County before making the three-plus hour journey back home. We decided not to travel back the following night, hoping that the team would win their semifinal game. As the game was going on, we were receiving updates from people that were there, and soon realized that we made the right choice. Marion County jumped out to an early lead over Russell-Flatwoods and never looked back. That meant one thing, we would be making the trip the following night to watch the championship game.  
As I said earlier, I had not been to this particular part of the state. As we were loading up the car, Jessica began to tell me about the roads and the scenery that we would encounter on our way. For about the first hour and a half of our trip, things were pretty normal. Lots of cars and stop lights on roads that we had traveled frequently were what we ran into. However, after we headed out of Lexington and made our way to the Mountain Parkway, that all changed.  
The speed limit on the Parkway was 70 miles per hour, but I soon found out that at times that was a bit unattainable. I had never been on a major highway with such curves and hills and realized that if we planned on traveling the speed limit, we needed to be driving something else besides an SUV. A sports car would have been more suited for this terrain. We drove what seemed like forever through tree-covered hills before suddenly out of nowhere, popped our hotel.
We unloaded our stuff into our room before heading to the ball field.
When we got back into the car, Jessica told me about the road heading to the ball field.  For all those who made the journey up the mountain to the ball fields, you know what I'm talking about. Some of the Marion County people described the curves on the road as "kiss your butt curves," to put it nicely if you know what I mean.  At times on the road, you began to wonder if there was a ball field up here or not. Eventually, seemingly out of nowhere, a large group of ball fields and a full golf course pops up.
Even though the team came up a bit short, they have nothing to be ashamed of.  This group of young men put together an outstanding run in the postseason.  Later in their lives, this group will look back and see these memories as once in a lifetime moments.
There is no reason for any of these young men to hang their head, all of Marion County is proud of you for what you have accomplished.