This From the Sidelines column appeared in the May 17, 2017 edition of the News Journal…
We are now just days away from the 2017 high school baseball and softball postseasons, and I for one am very eager to see how everything is going to play out.
The 50th District tournaments are set to get underway Monday, May 22 at Corbin High School. The host Redhounds are the top seed in the baseball bracket, and are looking like the favorites to repeat as district champs this year. Since entering the month of May, the Hounds have picked up wins over Knox Central, West Jessamine, Barbourville, McCreary Central and Middlesboro. They fell to North Laurel and Lincoln County, and were on the road Tuesday night at Pulaski County. They’ll have two more games between now and the end of the regular season to work out all the kinks, but fans can expect more big things from this team when playoff time rolls around next week.
Hoping to play spoiler to Corbin’s district title aspirations are the Whitley County Colonels, who have struggled somewhat this season, but have also shown that they have the ability to win some big games. They started the year off with a win over region rival Knox Central, and split 1-1 against their crosstown foes at Williamsburg. They had won four of their last five games heading into a contest against visiting McCreary Central Tuesday night, and they will be hoping to continue that positive momentum with postseason play fast approaching.
In the two seed versus three seed game of the 50th District baseball tournament Williamsburg will most likely be considered the underdogs against South Laurel, but the Jackets do boast a 9-4 win over the Cards back on April 25. They’ve looked very good at times this season, but the month of May has not been kind to them so far. They will be coming into a Thursday matchup at Middlesboro with a losing streak of seven games.
Over on the softball side of the 50th District, things have been very tough to predict this year. At one point Corbin looked like the team to beat, but then South Laurel was able to rise up and secure the top seed going into next week’s tournament.
South will almost surely get past four seed Whitley County in the first round of the district tourney, but Lady Colonel Head Coach Angela Singleton has done a great job in her first season at the helm. Look for Whitley softball to do big things in the future, but they still have some work to do before they can reach their full potential.
All eyes will be on the Corbin versus Williamsburg matchup that is scheduled to take place next Monday evening, as there are several different story lines that will come into play. For starters, this game will determine which team’s season gets to continue, and which team’s season will come to an end. In 2016, it was the Lady Jackets who sent the Lady Hounds home, so you know that Corbin will be looking to return the favor this time around.
The fact that the Hounds will be hosting this game will make it even more interesting, because they will definitely not want to experience a repeat of what happened back on April 25, when Williamsburg walked onto their field and walked away with a 7-5 district win.
Corbin has had an up-and-down past few weeks, but they’ve also faced some very stiff competition in that time. The Jackets, on the other hand, have done nothing but win lately, going 7-1 since that game at CHS and riding a six-game win streak into their Tuesday night contest against visiting Knox Central.
In the 51st District, both Lynn Camp teams will have to get past Barbourville in the first round of tournament play next week at Union College. This won’t be the easiest of tasks for either squad, but they both could very well get the job done and find themselves advancing to district title games in 2017. More than likely, both instances would see them playing against Knox Central with championships on the line. Neither team has fared well against the Panthers this season, but as long as you’re in the district finals you know that you’re going to be headed to compete in the region tournament.
So, I hope that everyone will come out and watch some of these postseason games next week. I’ll be around, and will have plenty of updates right here inside next week’s edition of the News Journal. See you on the sidelines!