By Bob Flynn
Register Sports Writer
Parings were drawn Saturday for the 11th Region Tournament which begins in Frankfort today and right off the bat, the Madison Southern Lady Eagles (20-10) will have their hands full with one of the tournament favorites.
The Lady Eagles drew 30-4 Scott County in a first round game set for 2 p.m. at Riverview Park, but Southern Coach Brian Foley said he thinks his squad has as good a shot as anybody to win the tournament. Madison Central will take on Woodford County at 2 p.m. today.
“We have a tough test in the first round. Scott County is a very good team, but they are not unbeatable,” Foley said. “Obviously there were other teams that we would rather have had, but I think this region is wide open for anybody to win.”
The two teams haven’t played this season, but they did meet in the regional tournament last year, with Scott County pulling out a hard-fought 2-1 win in nine innings.
Foley said he has looked as some of the common opponents the two teams have played and how his team fared against those opponents.
He said he feels good about the way his team performed in those contests and likes the way his team has been playing, despite the tough loss to Central in the district last week. So he thinks the Lady Eagles are capable of wining the game.
“After getting blown out 10-0 and then coming back and playing so good against Central, I think our girls realize now they can beat that team,” Foley said. “They beat Boyle County 2-1 and Boyle beat them 3-0 earlier in the year. We went toe-to-toe with Boyle County. That tells me we can play with For his team to win, Foley said, it has to do a much better job of hitting with runners in scoring position.
Against Central, the Lady Eagles squandered several chances to blow the game open early by leaving runners on base in each of the first three innings.
“When we get situational hits we can beat people. You’ve got to have players step up and get the big hits with runners in scoring position when you get them there. We didn’t do that in the district and it cost us the game,” Foley said. “If we can get girls on and get some situational hits, we’ll make a game out of it. What it will come down to is situational hitting. Somebody has to step up for us.”
The Lady Eagles recognize that they let one slip away against the Lady Indians last week, Foley said, but they have not hung their heads, instead they have had some of the best practices they’ve had all year.”
“A lot of times after we’ve gotten beaten in the district, I’ve seen girls going through the motions in practice. I didn’t see that on Wednesday and Thursday. I saw determination. I saw girls wanting to get better, even now, this late in the season. I love that as their coach. I think they are still hungry. My message to the team is ‘Turn it up’. If we do that I think we can win this thing.”
The Madison Central Lady Indians (13-17) will take on Woodford County (21-10) Monday in the tournament’s first game at noon.
Central enters the tournament on a high, winning four of its last six games, including its dramatic seventh-inning win over Southern in the 44th District championship game last week.
The Lady Indians and Lady Yellow Jackets, who are coached by former Central star Sasha Turansky, have met once before this year, with Woodford coming out on top 10-2 in Central’s first game of the year.
Central Coach Daniel Rogers said his team has improved considerably since that first encounter.
“They beat us pretty good in the very first game of the year,” Rogers said. “We had a lot of inexperienced players playing and we made a lot of errors in that game. I think we will play a lot better on Monday.”
The Lady Yellow Jackets enter the contest the winner of four of their last five games, the only loss a 9-8 setback to Franklin County in the championship game of the 41st District Tournament.
Rogers said one thing he knows about Woodford is that they are one of the best hitting teams in the state. In their last five games, Lady Yellow Jackets outscored their opponents 61-14.
After playing eight games over an 11 day span, Rogers said he gave his team a few days off to rest up a bit, before getting ready for the regional tournament.
“We played a lot of games those last two weeks, so we gave them three days to get through graduation and to give them a rest,” Rogers said. “Beating Southern and winning in that fashion is really exciting and got us pumped up. But they came back today and had put the district behind them and are ready to move on. I like their approach. I think we are going to be ready to go on Monday.”
Rogers called the 11th region the toughest in the state, but said he thinks his team has a chance to win it.
“Scott County has got to be the favorite in the tournament. But every team in the region is really good. I think it is going to be wide open,” Rogers said. “Every region has two or three good teams, but in the 11th, everybody is good. It’s going to be really competitive and there are going to be a lot of good games. Whoever comes out of this has a shot of winning the state tournament. I think we have as good a chance as anybody of winning it.”