After picking up wins over North Laurel, Corbin, and Whitley County, the South Laurel Lady Cardinals enter as the No. 1 ranked team in the first Fear ‘Les’ 13th Region Fastpitch Rankings of the season. | File Photo

Just like in baseball, it’s taken me a few weeks to figure out who should be ranked where due to high school fastpitch season having a year off because of the COVID-19 pandemic. I’m still not sure where to rank certain teams, but I’m trying my best while letting the chips fall where they may. It’s a long season but it looks as if they’re around a handful of teams that could lay claim to being the best team in the Fear ‘Les’ 13th Region Fastpitch Rankings.

1. South Laurel (7-2 overall, 5-1 vs. 13th Region opponents)

The Lady Cardinals have already recorded some big wins this season, defeating North Laurel (5-4), Corbin (16-9), and Whitley County (21-5). They possess the best hitting team in the region currently, and look to be importing in the pitcher’s circle. If the pitching continues to improve combined with defensive play getting better, South Laurel has the potential to be the team to beat in the region.

2. Corbin (4-8, 3-3)

Their record might not be pretty but the Lady Redhounds continue to improve each time they play. By season’s end, Crystal Stidham’s squad could be the team to beat. Corbin is talented, and the scary thing about the Lady Redhounds is all of the talent they also have at the middle school level. The key to Corbin’s success is going to be pitching and fielding. The hitting is there.

3. North Laurel (4-4, 2-2)

It’s not time to hit the panic button but losing games to both South Laurel and Corbin has to be a concern. Just like the teams ranked above them, the Lady Jaguars are talented but something just isn’t clicking right now. I do expect coach Doug Gregory to turn things around quickly. This team is too talented not to make a deep postseason run.

4. Whitley County (6-7, 5-3)

The Lady Colonels have split with Corbin while being competitive in most of their respective games but this is almost a repeating theme with every team — the key to their success will be fielding, hitting, and pitching.

5. Clay County (7-7, 2-1)

After starting the season with an 0-3 mark, Clay County has responded well. This is another team that will get better as the season progresses.

The Best of the Rest

6 Knox Central (3-9, 2-4)

The Lady Panthers have had some close games against teams with winning records but defense and consistent pitching hasn’t been there at all time this season.

7. Middlesboro (5-4, 5-1)

The Lady Yellow Jackets captured the 13th Region All ‘A’ Classic title a few weeks ago and looks to be improving each day.

8. Lynn Camp (8-4, 7-3)

The Lady Wildcats have been rolling but disappointing losses to Clay County and Knox Central are two main reasons they’re ranked at the eighth spot.

9. Harlan County (3-1, 2-1)

It’s hard to get a grasp on just how good Harlan County is. Let the Lady Black Bears Get a few more games under their belts, and I should be able to tell a whole lot about them.

10. Bell County (2-4, 2-23)

The Lady Bobcats have an impressive win over Knox Central so far.

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