By Denis House
LAUREL COUNTY, Ky. —
While both South Laurel and North Laurel might not know anything about their first round opponent in today's 13th Region softball tournament at North Laurel, they are very familiar with their second round opponent should they both win.
South Laurel will meet Pineville at 4 p.m. today, followed by North Laurel-Harlan County at 6 p.m. Both coaches know it will be hard for their teams not to look past their first round opponents to that possible showdown in the semifinals.
“It will be hard for our team not to look at North Laurel,” South Laurel coach James Burns said.
North Laurel coach Becky Osborne agrees.
“The girls look at a North-South game at the beginning of the year,” Osborne said “They are our cross-town rivals. It will be hard for the girls not to look past that first game. They knew coming in that we couldn't face South in the first game, but there was a possibility of meeting them in the second game or the finals.”
The Lady Cards, winners of the 50th District, come into the game with a record of 26-6, while Pineville, runners-up of the 51st District, has a record of 8-13. The two did not face each other during the regular season.
“This is a trap game,” Burns said. “We will have to come out and play hard. You can throw the records out, they don't mean anything.”
The Lady Jaguars, winners of the 49th District, are 22-12-1, while their opponent, 52nd District runner-up Harlan County, is 17-12. North and Harlan County also didn't meet during the regular season.
“I feel confident about my team going into the tournament,” Osborne said. “We've finally got some things together and are in good spirits. I think that's more important than anything.”
The tournament gets underway at noon with 52nd District champion Middlesboro (20-9) taking on 50th District runner-up Corbin (19-13). That game will be followed at 2 p.m. by Knox Central (13-15), winners of the 51st District, taking on 49th District runner-up Clay County (23-6).
The semifinals are set for 6 and 7:45 p.m. Tuesday, with the finals scheduled for 7:30 p.m. Thursday.