Former Lexington Catholic and UK pitcher signs with Yankees

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LEXINGTON, Ky. (WTVQ) – Kentucky relief pitcher Carson Coleman on Sunday signed a contract with the New York Yankees.

The right-hander signed his deal on the first day undrafted free agents could sign with major league franchises.

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The redshirt junior graduated last month and will forego his remaining eligibility.

Coleman, who attended Lexington Catholic High School, drew significant interest from around the league before settling on the Yankees. He was drafted by the Tampa Bay Rays in the 33rd round of last summer’s draft but opted to return to school.

The 2020 MLB Draft was shortened to five rounds instead of the traditional 40 rounds due to Covid-19 and additional special circumstances.

The 6-foot-2, 190-pounder has flashed a big arm during his time in Lexington, where he has served as one of the Wildcats’ top relievers.

He struck out 81 hitters in 53.2 career innings, a rate of 13.58 strikeouts per nine innings, the highest such rate for any UK pitcher with at least 50 innings pitched since 1979.

He finished with a 5-5 record and five saves to go along with a 4.19 earned run average and .211 opponent batting average, including a paltry .172 by left-handed hitters.

In the shortened 2020 season Coleman saw 13 of the 17 outs he recorded come via the strikeout and allowed just four hits and one walk on the season in six appearances.

In 2019, he notched a team-best five saves in 23 appearances. He also starred in the famed Cape Cod league the past two summers, including leading the league with a miniscule 0.90 ERA in 2018.

Coleman also shined off the field and was inducted into UK’s prestigious Frank G. Ham Society of Character earlier this year for his service in the community and academic excellence.

*Note:  The game action photo that accompanies this story is courtesy of Barry Westerman/UK Athletics.

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Tom Kenny joined ABC 36 News in June of 2001 as a General Assignment Reporter. A native of Peoria, Illinois, he graduated cum laude with a Bachelor of Arts in Mass Communications from Western Illinois University. He currently anchors ABC 36 News at 5pm, 6pm and 11pm. Tom has more than three decades of experience in broadcast journalism. He is the only broadcast journalist in Lexington television history to be honored with a national Edward R. Murrow Award. Tom was recognized for reporting on a story that gave a rare glimpse inside the secretive world of the Federal Witness Protection Program. He has won an Emmy Award for anchoring and another for investigative reporting, exposing the deceit and potential danger of online diploma mills. Tom has ten other Emmy nominations to his credit for investigative and feature reporting. He has won Associated Press Awards for reporting and anchoring. He has won two Addy Awards for excellence in promotional writing. Tom was the first broadcast journalist in Lexington TV history to be awarded the Silver Circle Award by the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences. It is one of the highest honors given by NATAS. It recognizes television professionals who have performed distinguished service within the television industry for 25-years or more. Tom was honored for more than his longevity, he was recognized for making an enduring contribution to the vitality of the television industry and for setting high standards of achievement. He was also recognized for giving back to the community as a mentor, educator and volunteer. Tom also has network broadcast experience in radio and television having worked as a sports reporter for ESPN, Sportschannel, NBC Sports and the Breeders’ Cup. He was also the studio host and halftime producer for CBS Radio Sports’ College Football Game of the Week and covered the NFL for One-On-One Radio Sports. Prior to joining WTVQ-TV, Tom was Vice-President of the Houston Astros Minor League baseball team in Lexington. He was part of the original management team that brought professional baseball back to the Bluegrass after a nearly 50-year absence. Tom has lived in Lexington since 1984. In that time, he has been heavily involved with dozens of charity and civic groups, with a special emphasis on helping Veterans. He can be reached at tkenny@wtvq.com. You can also follow Tom on Facebook www.facebook.com/TomKennyABC and Twitter @TomKennyNews. Just click on the links at the top of the page.