The toughest thing to do is forcast the fortunes of a team several months down the road and after the 2019 high school baseball season finally ended in mid June, the prognosticators were already at work. Taylor County and North Hardin finally had a run to the Region Championship game that most teams dream about and considering how long it took it was long overdue., but the question being “Can they do it again?”
Well, lets take a look at everyone else first.
By midseason, it looked like the top three teams would be Taylor County, North Hardin and Bardstown, but as the District Tournament approached it became evident that it was far from a one team race in the 19th District.
Nelson County pulled off a huge surprise in the semi-finals. After dropping three straight to the Tigers during the regular season, the Cardinals pulled off a 4-2 shocker and advanced to the Region Tourney after taking out another 26-win team (Bethlehem) in the District Final, before dropping a heartbreaker to Green County in extra innings in the Region opener.
Bethlehem turned in one of Roger Robinson’s best season’s reaching the Region semi-finals before Taylor County put an end to their Championship hopes.
After finishing third to Elizabethtown and Central Hardineleven of the last twelve seasons, North Hardin complied over a decade of bad luck into one heck of a season sweeping both teams and winning the 17th District Championship Tournament for the first time since 2006. The Trojans were built around strong pitching and good defense allowing the fewest runs (92) in the 5th Region.
It was also a strange season where both Central Hardin and Elizabethtown, winners of the Region final ten of the last thirteen years suddenly were looking from the outside. Although the Bruins made the Region Tournament again, it was the Panthers who were the odd man out.
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LaRue County turned in a 22-win season after coming off a State Tournament appearance last year, but after losing a big veteran team the previous season, the Hawks simply ran out of gas against Bethlehem, while Ricky Davis coached Green County to another great season and a trip to the Region Semi’s before seeing the end of the road.
Finally, we have Taylor County, which put it all together in one great Tournament run which finally culminated in a Region Championship and a very difficult first round Semi-State loss to PRP after leading late in the game. Like North Hardin, Taylor County had a veteran team which leaned on a small senior class meaning both teams should return plenty of great players next season.
That still leaves plenty of questions for 2020.
Can Taylor County repeat?
Will North Hardin continue their run or will the Central Hardin overtake them?
Can Elizabethtown and LaRue County bounce back?
Are Bardstown, Bethlehem and Nelson County in the toughest District in the Region?