Davis Motor Sales banner ad

UK Baseball 300LEXINGTON, Ky. (4/19/13) – Usually on the day of night games in the Southeastern Conference, visiting teams spend the day wasting time at the hotel, eating pregame meals and preparing for the daunting challenge of winning a league series opener on the road.
 
Not so on Friday for the 17th-ranked Kentucky baseball team, which faces off with No. 14 South Carolina at Carolina Stadium this weekend.
 
The Wildcats had a different Friday, spending the morning at Fort Jackson, the United States Army’s main production center for Basic Combat Training under the command of Brigadier General Bryan T. Roberts.
 
UK’s club was invited to visit Fort Jackson during the week leading up to the trip to Columbia. UK jumped at the chance to break from its routine and show its student-athletes the training ground for America’s heroes.
 
UK head coach Gary Henderson, assistant coach Keith Vorhoff, support staff and a dozen Wildcats boarded the bus and ventured down the road to Fort Jackson.
 
“This was a tremendous opportunity to get some of our group out to see a special place at Fort Jackson,” Henderson said. “The men and women that serve in our armed forces are heroes and we were honored to have been welcomed on a visit. The chance to see what our soldiers go through on a daily basis to prepare them to fight for our freedom is an eye-opening experience. We can’t thank General Roberts, Captain Meyer and the soldiers who were able to visit with us enough; they make us all proud to live in this great nation.”
 
After a chance to meet with General Roberts, the Wildcats were given a personal tour of the recently renovated Fort Jackson museum where they were given a glimpse into the fort’s history dating back to its inception in 1917.
 
Among the Wildcats on the trip was redshirt junior catcher Micheal Thomas. The Elizabethtown, Ky., native is a child of the military just 20 minutes from historic Fort Knox.
 
“It is cool to see what the men and women who serve our country have to go through to get ready to go to Afghanistan and other places for war,” Thomas said. “It was an eye-opening experience for me and the guys, to see what guys our age actually have to go through.”
 
Thomas, who has been a fixture behind the plate in 2013 after spending the previous four years behind standout catchers Marcus Nidiffer, Luke Maile and Michael Williams, was touched by the personal invite to the historic military base.
 
“It is really cool. Most of my family has been in the army,” Thomas said. “Both of my parents were in the Navy so it was a little different for me. I got to see some of the other aspects of what my family has gone through from generation to generation. Being one of the first in my family to not join the military right out of high school was kind of cool to see what they went through, how they lived their lives and what has led them to be the kind of people they are today.”
 
After the tour of the sparkling new museum, the Wildcats ventured across the base to an indoor shooting range, equipped with electronic sensors and screens to replicate battle scenarios. Henderson and the Wildcats were instructed on loading and re-loading their high powered, automatic weapons, before beginning the training scenarios.
 
“This was a great opportunity to come out and see just how the army life is,” UK senior right-hander Walter Wijas said. “I had never had this experience, I had never shot a gun before and it was just a great experience to learn how it is and see how difficult it is for our soldiers to live here and fight for our country.”
 
The Wildcats went through several battle simulations scenarios on the range, while lying in the prone and kneeling positions. The players had to think on their feet in a battle simulation, deciding on the fly about potential threats and civilians.
 
After the visit to historic Fort Jackson, the Wildcats returned to Columbia with a new perspective thanks to an experience much more meaningful than an afternoon spent in a hotel room.
 
“To see this just makes me respect our soldiers even more then I already do,” Wijas said. “To see what they go through on a daily basis, it makes me feel for the work to do, it really makes us feel grateful that we have the life we do. The chance to play baseball everyday has been given to us by the brave soldiers in our military.”
 
SurfKY News
Information provided by Brent Ingram
Photo provided by SurfKY Graphics

© Copyright 2015 SurfKY News Group, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, or rewritten without permission. SurfKY News encourages you to share this story by using one of the social media links below.

In Other News...

Happenings and Meetings - Hopkins County

HOPKINS COUNTY, Ky. (1/31/15) — The following meetings and events are scheduled for the following week: Poppy and… Read More

White Plains Man Arrested after Being Wanted for Two Years

MANNINGTON, Ky. (2/1/15) ― A White Plains man was arrested Saturday, Jan. 31 after being wanted on active warrants for… Read More

Most Read This Week

January 28, 2015 18269

UPDATED: Several Involved in Two-Vehicle Accident

in Local (Hopkins) Top News by Doreen Dennis, SurfKY News
January 26, 2015 9573

KSP Arrests Two on Child Porn Charges; MPD…

in Top News For All Sites Touching Hopkins by Trooper Stu Recke
January 28, 2015 7428

Nortonville Man Accused of Meth Possession,…

in Local (Hopkins) Top News by Madisonville Police Department/Hopkins County Detention Center
January 26, 2015 7214

School Board Votes 3-2 for Utility Tax

in Local (Muhlenberg) Top News by Charles W. Riley II, SurfKY News
January 25, 2015 6924

Juvenile Hit by Vehicle at McDonald's

in Local (Muhlenberg) Top News by GPD Officer Wes Miller
January 31, 2015 6848

24-Year-Old Killed in One-Vehicle Collision

in Top News For All Sites Touching Hopkins by Rita Dukes Smith, SurfKY News Director
January 28, 2015 6781

Tax Recall Committee Formed Day After School…

in Local (Muhlenberg) Top News by Charles W. Riley II, SurfKY News
January 30, 2015 6520

More Than 800 Gather to Encircle HCCHS

in Local (Hopkins) Top News by Tammy Holloway, SurfKY News

Most Read This Month

January 08, 2015 23954

Woman Claiming to be 'Lady Gaga' Tours Town in…

in Top News For All Sites by Madisonville Police Department
January 15, 2015 23514

UPDATE: Fatality Victim's Name Officially Released

in Top News For All Sites by Doreen Dennis, SurfKY News

Stories Trending Today

January 31, 2015 6848

24-Year-Old Killed in One-Vehicle Collision

in Top News For All Sites Touching Hopkins by Rita Dukes Smith, SurfKY News Director
January 30, 2015 6520

More Than 800 Gather to Encircle HCCHS

in Local (Hopkins) Top News by Tammy Holloway, SurfKY News
January 31, 2015 2025

UPDATED GAME STORY: Muhlenberg Mustangs Trample…

in Local (Muhlenberg) Top News by Mike Groves
January 30, 2015 1995

Governor, First Lady, Commissioner Celebrate New…

in Top News For All Sites by Office of the Governor
January 31, 2015 1771

Eating Only during 9-12 Hour Period May Help…

in General News For All Sites by Melissa Landon
January 31, 2015 1601

Hooked on Science - 'Chemical Reaction Splash'

in General News For All Sites by Jason Lindsey
January 31, 2015 1534

Keeping the Faith - 'Will Practice Make Perfect?'

in General News For All Sites by Ronnie McBrayer
January 31, 2015 1491

Happenings and Meetings - Hopkins County

in Hopkins News by Amber Averitt, SurfKY News
January 31, 2015 1490

Woman Veterans Video Now on KDVA YouTube

in General News For All Sites by Lisa Aug
February 01, 2015 1456

Madisonville Man Charged on Multiple Drug…

in Local (Hopkins) Top News by Chris Rogers
February 01, 2015 1398

White Plains Man Arrested after Being Wanted for…

in Local (Hopkins) Top News by Robert LIttlepage
January 31, 2015 1330

Daviess County Traffic Advisory

in Owensboro News by Keith Todd