Nicholas County’s baseball field lights up for the first time to honor late coach

Nicholas Co. baseball field lit up in honor of late coach
Published: Dec. 2, 2021 at 11:21 PM EST
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NICHOLAS COUNTY, Ky. (WKYT) - It’s not the normal time of year to be tidying up a baseball field. But Thursday night in Nicholas County, they were painting lines, mowing grass, and setting backstops at the Billy K. Anderson Field.

“Field work - all day, all night, you know working during school,” said Ryan Johnson, a sophomore at Nicholas County who plays first base for the team. if we have a free period, we come out and work on the field. It’s just a full-time job that we don’t really have guys to do, so we have to do it ourselves.”

Johnson was there hours early, motivated by and preparing for his late coach Travis Sims.

Coach Sims would have turned 48 today. He lost his battle with brain cancer in July after coaching the Blue Jackets for two decades.

“He’s been part of all of our lives for such a long time,” Johnson said. “He’s had all of us in class.”

They honored Coach Sims in a way they never could have before, by lighting up the field for the first time ever.

High school baseball programs around Kentucky joined in on lighting up the night sky in honor of Coach Sims, using the hashtags #lightuphisday and #candlesforcoachsims.

It was something Coach Sims had wanted for years, making it a bittersweet moment for new head coach Josh Earlywine.

“This isn’t really fair,” Earlywine said. “Coach Anderson pretty much built this field with his bare hands. Travis was here for 20 years. They didn’t get to coach under lights.”

But the players know what it means for this program…

“The JV guys actually get to play,” said Tate Letcher, a junior centerfielder. “They get out there and bond. I mean that’ll make us a stronger unit for the future baseball teams.”

And Coach Billy K. Anderson, who coached the Nicholas County team for 33 years before passing the torch to Coach Sims, knows just how much it means to Sims.

“I know he’s up there looking down on us and he’s got a twinkle in his eye that something like this is happening on his birthday, and in honor of him,” said Coach Anderson.

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