Girls Top 5
1. North Laurel Lady Jaguars (19-10-1)
What’s the scoop: It’s been very difficult for me the past couple of weeks to decide on who is the top rated team in the 13th Region. At times, I believe South Laurel is the top team and then at times, I believe North Laurel is, so for the second week in a row, the Lady Jaguars are garnering the No. 1 ranking heading into post-season play. But with that said, there isn’t much room separating North Laurel from their cross-town rivals on the south side of town.
Surprise, surprise: The Lady Jaguars have been very inconsistent this season, which has me scratching my head at times wondering why they haven’t lived up to their pre-season billing as one of the top teams in the state. Remember the majority of the players and starters returned from last season’s squad that made a deep run in the state tournament. Time remains for North Laurel to get things going, but post-season lies ahead next week.
2. South Laurel Lady Cardinals (22-6)
What’s the scoop: This is another team that is really stumping me right now. The Lady Cardinals are one of the top scoring teams in the region, but have struggled at the plate the past week or so. South Laurel is averaging only four runs per game during the last four games it has played. That’s a far cry from its season average of 7.14 runs per game.
Surprise, surprise: The Lady Cardinals are also coming off one of their worst performances of the season, according to coach James Burns. South Laurel opened the season with an 18-0, three inning win over Middlesboro, but just beat the Yellow Jackets at home on Tuesday, 6-4. Should there be cause for concern? I believe so, but if Burns can straighten his team’s hitting woes out, they’ll be fine.
The best of the rest ...
3. Clay County Lady Tigers (20-5)
What’s the scoop: The Lady Tigers saw their 12-game win streak snapped against Lawrence County, but they responded by picking up four wins in a row since.
4. Corbin Lady Redhounds (18-11)
What’s the scoop: The Lady Redhounds seem to be peaking at the right time. They are now winners of five straight and I’m really interested to see how their game against Middlesboro goes today.
5. Harlan County Lady Black Bears (15-11)
What’s the scoop: The Lady Black Bears are another team that is peaking at the right time. They have won four games in a row, which includes back-to-back victories over Knox Central.
Boys Top 5
1. South Laurel Cardinals (20-6)
What’s the scoop: Things are shaping up for 13th Region baseball fans to have an exciting 13th Region Tournament at Knox Central High School. South Laurel is struggling to get things going and barely slipped past Knox Central a couple of days ago. This region could be wide open.
Surprise, surprise: The key to South Laurel’s success is, of course, hitting and pitching, but the Cardinals have been struggling of late at the plate.
2. Harlan County Black Bears (23-8)
What’s the scoop: The Black Bears picked up a big 4-1 road win against Clay County this past week and could be the team to beat in the region once post-season play begins.
Surprise, surprise: The only concern I have for Harlan County is its four losses against regional foes. It shows they can be beat.
The best of the rest ...
3. North Laurel Jaguars (17-11-1)
What’s the scoop: This is a team that really is confusing me right now. They handled Clay County easily this past week, but suffered a 1-0 loss to Bell County, who had been 10-run ruled and outscored 40-6 during their last three games before beating the Jaguars.
4. Clay County Tigers (17-15)
What’s the scoop: The Tigers are struggling, but they still hold on to the No. 4 spot.
5. Corbin Redhounds (18-15)
What’s the scoop: The Redhounds are a dangerous team. They are good enough to beat anyone they play in the region.