By Les Dixon / Sports Editor
Jon Sizemore’s North Laurel 9-10 year-old All-Star team will begin its quest for a state championship Sunday at 2 p.m. against Ashland American. At the North Laurel Little League Complex.
The road to the state championship will be a tough one, though. North Laurel will have to play three straight days to get to Thursday’s championship game game, meaning Sizemore will have to find a way to use his pitching wisely with the two-inning rule in effect.
“If they pitch two innings or more they must sit out a day for rest, so it does make things a little harder for us, but we’ve got a pretty deep pitching staff. I believe we will be OK.”
North Laurel’s four-player rotation of Daria Casey, Maddie Dagley, Taylor Jones and Emily Sizemore could very well be the best among the five participating state tournament teams.
“We’ve got a deep staff, so I’m not worried a lot,” Sizemore admitted. “We’ve got to come up with a strategy, but I’m sure we will be using all of them.”
Most coaches wouldn’t like their respective team having the potential of playing three consecutive days, but Sizemore doesn’t seem to mind.
“I actually like it in a way,” he said. “That means we will be able to play some more games and get our hitting going and maybe get on a roll. That’s the big thing right there. You want to be able to play some games and get some in and we’ll be able to do that if we keep on winning.”
Sizemore said his team is ready to play after blowing through the opposition during the District 4 Tournament last week.
“I know the coaches are ready and the players are ready,” he said. “We’re ready to get at it again. As long as we come ready to play like we did last week, I like our chances of winning the state tournament. I know the girls are pumped up and ready to go.”
Sizemore said his team being able to play at home, might be another plus heading into the tournament.
“I feel like it is. It makes a world of difference being able to sleep in your own bed and not have to travel,” he admitted. “Plus, I believe we will have an even larger group of fans supporting us here and we need that energy.”
Joining North Laurel and Ashland American in the state tournament are North Oldham, South Hardin and Morgan County.