Just because it’s summer and the college baseball season is over, doesn’t mean the players aren’t training, the coaches aren’t recruiting, and awards aren’t continuing to be handed out. Another Wildcat picked up more hardware last week, and head coach Gary Henderson is expanding his coaching horizons.
Sophomore southpaw Corey Littrell has been awarded the Rawling Gold Golve, voted on by the American Baseball Coaches Association. The Gold Glove award is given annually to each position player for their exceptional defense, and Littrell represented the pitchers spot. He owned a perfect 1.000 field percentage in 2012, which helped the team set a school record .976 fielding mark, passing the previous mark set in 2008 by 0.002 points.
Littrell joins former Kentucky second basemen Ryan Wilkes as just the second player in school history to win the Rawlings Gold Glove. Wilkes completed the 2008 season with a perfect 1.000 fielding percentage as well. Littrell is the only sophomore and only SEC player given this award in 2012.
Shifting gears to the head coach of the Wildcats, center fielder Austin Cousino isn’t the only Kentucky product representing the Red White and Blue. Head coach Gary Henderson was announced as an instructor for the inaugural USA Baseball 14U National Team Development Program. Henderson will join the staff of the NTDP alongside former general manager of the New York Yankees Bob Watson and current Arizona State coach Tim Esmay.
The now annual program in Cary, North Carolina will offer the nation’s top 14U athletes a week of training to better prepare them for international competition, and an inside track to make the National Team down the road. The program will put 80 players through an unparalleled National Team-level experience in an effort to accelerate their baseball careers.
Henderson did a fantastic job with his Kentucky team last season, guiding UK to its first No. 1 national ranking, a school record for wins, and nine players being picked in the MLB Draft, the second-most in the NCAA.
While it may not do much good to recruit from a pile of 14-year-olds, getting your name and the Kentucky brand out and exposed to what should be some of the better young players in the nation can’t hurt. Association with Team USA can go a long way to landing better and better talent. Congratulations to both Littrell for his honor and Henderson for representing the Big Blue Nation well!