The field is set for the 2014 13th Region Baseball Tournament and despite a few surprises, I don’t think the participants are all that different than what we expected when the regular season started.
While the pairings won’t be determined until Saturday morning, we’ll take a look at who’s in and what could be in store for each team on Monday.
Champion – North Laurel (24-11) – The Jaguars are the defending region champs and a lot of people expect Darren McWhorter’s squad to make a return trip to the state tournament. With the kind of depth it takes to make a deep postseason run, I don’t think it would surprise many to see a second straight title. North Laurel could face Corbin, Knox Central or Middlesboro in the opening round.
Runner-up – Clay County (20-17) – The Tigers dropped a 7-2 decision to North Laurel in the 49th District finals, but don’t count them out next week. Clay County is 11-8 against regional foes, but are capable of playing with any of the other seven teams in the tournament.
Champion – South Laurel (24-8) – Other than a four-game losing streak in mid-April, the Cardinals have been one of the most consistent teams in the region this year. After dropping three straight to Corbin in the regular season, the Cardinals picked up a dominating 15-2 win in the district finals. South Laurel will face Clay County, Knox Central or Middlesboro in the opening round.
Runner-up – Corbin (16-14) – The Redhounds have had an on-again, off-again kind of season. They have played solid defense, but they haven’t always hit the baseball as well as they could. Corbin will have to face North Laurel, Barbourville or Harlan County in the first round.
Champion – Barbourville (10-10) – The Tigers surprised everybody by knocking off Knox Central Tuesday in a 10 pitcher’s duel. After finishing the regular season with an 8-10 mark, a spot in the region tournament is good news for the program.