By Les Dixon / Sports Editor
NORTH LAUREL — The North Laurel 11 & 12-year-old All-Star team will try to repeat as Little League state champions beginning this weekend at the Winchester Little League Complex.
North Laurel went undefeated during District 4 play, but ran into a little trouble in the championship game before defeating Tri-City, 13-12, in eight innings.
“We are really playing well right now,” North Laurel coach Shane Brewer said. “I’m really impressed with the way we have played, especially since we have only four players off last year’s team.
“We have seven younger players that have contributed and I am very pleased with them — you can’t ask for a better group of kids,” he added. “They put in a lot of hard work. Heck, we practiced for three hours today (Tuesday) and they worked really, really hard.”
North Laurel will enter the state tournament sporting one of the best offensive and pitching attacks.
Brewer’s squad batted .504 during district tournament play with Madison McDaniel, Madison Sechrest, Makinlee Philpot, Hannah Carson, Emilee Albright, Kelsey Batton, Hannah Carson, Jade Williams, Jazz Jervis, Alexis Gibson and Olivia Miller all swinging the bats good, according to Brewer.
“We are a good hitting team,” he said. “That has to be our strength. All of our girls are capable of hitting the ball really well in a game and they all showed that during the district tournament.
“We just need to continue to hit the ball like we have been,” Brewer added. “We know we’re going to have to face some good teams, so we’re going to have to continue to swing the bat well.”
Another strength for North Laurel is its pitching.
With the state tournament’s pool play being played in three consecutive days, Brewer admitted it’s important for his pitching staff to turn in solid outings.
“Our pitching is going to be key,” he said. “All of the girls have really turned in good efforts so far and we’ll need that to continue. Both Madison McDaniel and Jazz Jervis have both looked good along with our other girls.”
Brewer believes his team can make another run at a state championship if his players come ready to play.
“This is what they have worked for,” he said. “They have really worked hard to get to this point. I believe we have a very good shot, but we’re going to have to get good pitching, hitting and solid defense to win it.”
The state tournament’s opening ceremonies begin Friday with pool play starting Saturday and will continue Sunday and Monday. Single elimination tournament play begins Tuesday with the championship game scheduled for Wednesday.
By Les Dixon / Sports Editor
- Local Sports
The Williamsburg Yellow Jackets are partying like it's 1987! That was the last time the Jackets won a game in the 13th Region Tournament, and they ended the 27-year drought with a 47-44 win over the heavily-favored Knox Central Panthers on Thursday night.
Les Dixon's Daily Region Pick'Em
When it comes to picking region tournament games, it’s not an easy task to say the least. This is the most parity that I’ve ever seen in the 13th Region Boys and Girls Tournaments.
If Clay County’s play during the first game of the 13th Region Tournament is any indication of things to come, Robert Marcum’s squad could be well on its way of capturing their second straight 13th Region championship.
The Way it is
Since I’m picking Corbin to pull off the upset against Jackson County today, I figured I’d give my top five upsets dating back to 2005-06 when the 13th realigned and welcomed both North and South Laurel high schools to the mix.
Tony Pietrowski’s Corbin Redhounds have been favored during the past two first round 13th Region match-ups, and have been upset both times. Corbin is hoping things might change a bit this time around.
Barbourville will have hands full against Bell County today
Dinky Phipps’ Barbourville Tigers are looking for their first 13th Region Tournament win dating back to 2006’s tournament when they defeated Clay County in the regional semifinals.
Like It or Not
There’s an elephant in the room at this year’s 13th Region Tournament, and really in basketball in general, and I guess I’ll be the first one to point it out (publicly with my name attached to it).
Chris' Daily Region Pick'Em
With the first three days of opening round games in the books, I can honestly say I'm not surprised that I'm 4-2 overall when it comes to my pick'ems record.
You can never count out the Clay County Lady Tigers when it comes to the 13th Region Tournament.
Les Dixon's Daily Region Pick'em
After going just .500 during the girls games, things are going to get even tougher when it comes to picking the 13th Region Boys Tournament games.
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