Girls Top 5
1. South Laurel Lady Cardinals (24-6-0)
What’s the scoop: With post-season beginning today, I figured I should release my post-season rankings before district tournaments begin. With that said, we’ve got a new team atop my softball rankings — the South Laurel Lady Cardinals. James Burns’ team isn’t a stranger to the No. 1 ranking, they were in this same spot just a couple of weeks back.
Surprise, surprise: Some of you might be wondering why I have moved South Laurel back to the top spot? And I say, good question. First off, North Laurel is struggling and then if you look a little closer, the Lady Cardinals are the lone team in the region that hasn’t lost to a regional opponent. Plus, South Laurel is riding a five-game win streak after picking up back-to-back wins against Estill County.
2. North Laurel Lady Jaguars (21-12-1)
What’s the scoop: If you told me at the beginning of the season the Lady Jaguars would be ranked No. 2 heading into the post-season, I would have said you were crazy. And yet, here they are, ranked No. 2 after getting run-ruled for the second time this season after losing to Franklin County during their final regular season game.
Surprise, surprise: North Laurel needs to get things going and I’m not too sure if the Lady Jaguars can. They have a lot of talent on their roster and it just stumps me on why they can’t get things going. I’m telling you folks, this team has the talent to make a deep run in the post-season, but the big question is if it’s too late?
The best of the rest ...
3. Clay County Lady Tigers (21-5)
What’s the scoop: The Lady Tigers have been on fire, but many question just how hard of a schedule they have played. If Clay County can get past Jackson County today, they’ll get a stern test against North Laurel.
4. Middlesboro Lady Yellow Jackets (18-9)
What’s the scoop: The Yellow Jackets are a team to keep an eye on. They are coming off a big 10-0 win against Corbin and this is a team they had lost a week before, 4-3.
5. Corbin Lady Redhounds (18-12)
What’s the scoop: The Lady Redhounds saw their five-game win streak come to an end after losing to Middlesboro. They’ll have a tough match-up today against rival Whitley County.
Boys Top 5
1. South Laurel Cardinals (22-6)
What’s the scoop: After hitting a couple of bumps along the way a couple of weeks ago, it seems the Cardinals have turned things around. South Laurel has put together a four-game win streak since a 7-4 loss to Mercer County on May 11.
Surprise, surprise: The Cardinals’ hitting has improved after being silenced a bit a couple of weeks ago. South Laurel is averaging more than seven runs a game during its current four-game win streak.
2. North Laurel Jaguars (19-11-1)
What’s the scoop: No team in the region has a better resume the past couple of weeks than Darren McWhorter’s squad. They’ve recorded wins over Clay County, Middlesboro and Harlan County. Yes, they lost to Bell County 1-0, but they were without Marcus Carson and Weston Griebel.
Surprise, surprise: North Laurel has the region’s best player in Carson. The way he goes, the Jaguars go.
The best of the rest ...
3. Harlan County Black Bears (24-9)
What’s the scoop: The Black Bears have enough talent to win the 13th Region championship. The key for them is to score runs.
4. Clay County Tigers (18-16)
What’s the scoop: The Tigers are limping into post-season playing having won only two out of their last seven games.
5. (tie) Corbin Redhounds (18-16)
What’s the scoop: The Redhounds’ game against Whitley County today in the 50th District Tournament could be a dandy.
5. (tie) Whitley County Colonels (21-10)
What’s the scoop: The Colonels have a chance to reach the region tournament for the first time since 2006.