Cards honor Ginter, win in ‘storybook finish’

Published 9:00 am Friday, May 3, 2024

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Among all the elite players that have worn a George Rogers Clark High School baseball uniform, only Matt Ginter has made it to the Major Leagues. 

Last Friday, he and his accomplishments were recognized on the school’s baseball field. 

Before a game that ended dramatically in the Cards’ favor, the former MLB pitcher was honored on Matt Ginter Night. 

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As stated by the school’s public address announcer, Ginter – following his time in a Cards’ uniform – attended Mississippi State University in Starkville. 

While there, he played in the College World Series, finishing his career with 269 strikeouts and being named to Team USA’s national team. 

After becoming only the third Mississippi State player to ever be drafted in the first round and working his way through the minor leagues, Ginter pitched four seasons for the Chicago White Sox under former Manager Jerry Manuel. 

Pitching exclusively as a reliever, Ginter went undefeated in a White Sox uniform, going 3-0 in 63 games pitched. 

Before ending his career with stints playing for the Detroit Tigers and Cleveland Indians, Ginter spent a year with the New York Mets, where 14 of his 19 career starts took place. 

At the plate, Ginter’s first major league hit came against Roger Clemens, one of the most feared pitchers of his era. 

Ginter also spent six seasons as head coach at GRC, where he went 116-77 with four district championships and one region championship. 

He later spent time coaching at Lexington Christian Academy, and currently owns and operates MPH Baseball Academy in Winchester. 

On Friday night, Ginter walked out to a standing ovation from the crowd, as a banner with his likeness and accomplishments was revealed on the left-field wall with plans for it to remain. 

Yet that wasn’t all. 

Ginter was surrounded by family, including his wife, two children, and nephew – current GRC senior and University of Louisville commit Brady Davis. 

Davis, for his part, would make the night even more memorable.

Following the ceremony, the Cards took on a highly respectable Russell County Lakers squad, who entered the game with a 19-3 record. 

Early, it looked like the main cause for celebration during the night would be Ginter’s recognition, as Russell County scored three runs in the top of the first inning. 

Undaunted, the Cards came back with three runs of their own in the second inning on an RBI double by Tielor Howie and two-RBI single by Abrahm Howard. 

After the Lakers’ Owen Lloyd scored in the fourth inning to give Russell County a one-run lead, it looked like the Cards would fall short after a valiant fight. 

However, with his uncle being honored earlier and the Cards down to their final out in the game, Davis kept them alive. 

A solo homer with two outs in the 7th inning tied the score, sending the game into extra innings. 

“[In] that last [at bat} I was making sure a fastball was not going to be [thrown] by me,” Davis said. “It was an amazing moment to happen on Matt Ginter [Night].”

In the bottom of the ninth, with two outs, Ben Fulks ended the game for GRC by delivering with an RBI single that scored Howard. 

“I really wanted to come through in a big moment,” Folks said. “This team is something special.” 

Less than 24 hours later, the Cards took to the field once more for a Saturday morning contest against Garrard County. 

Led by Abe Mullins, who allowed only one run on a single hit over five innings pitched with five strikeouts and also brought in two runs on a well-executed squeeze play, the Cards defeated the Golden Lions by a convincing 9-3 score. 

“[I felt] pretty good. My [fielders] behind me made some pretty good plays”, Mullins said. “I look forward to how much better we’re [going to] get. We’re making a lot of progress.” 

While the Cards continued play during the week, it was Friday night’s outcome that will stick with fans for some time. 

“You can’t script a more perfect scenario than that,” GRC Head Coach Eddie Brooks said. “That’s kind of what I call a storybook finish.”