Vaught's Views: Storylines abound this week, as area athletes start tourney play

May 24, 2004|LARRY VAUGHT

As exciting as state football championship week has been in Title Town the last five years, this still could be the most pressure-packed week of the year for area athletes.

This is make-or-break week for softball, baseball and track athletes. Considering how many local athletes are involved in those three sports, that makes this week extra special.

Start with baseball, which may have more interesting district tournament storylines than ever before.

Will Danville be able to prove its regular-season win over Boyle County was no fluke this afternoon and earn its first regional berth in years while denying the Rebels what has become an annual trip to the 12th Region Tournament? What makes this game even more intriguing is that Danville has two players - Rich Witten and Joey Beldon - who started their careers at Boyle and the Rebels have one player - Tyler Morris - who started his career at Danville.


Need more? Danville coach Paul Morse played for Boyle coach Dave Camic for five years at Danville.

Lincoln County and Casey County meet in the other 45th District semifinal Tuesday. If Lincoln and Danville both advance, Thursday's title game will be I-N-T-E-N-S-E. The Admirals have two players - Davis Teater and C.J. Lynn - who started their careers at Lincoln and Lincoln coach Jimmy Hill has made his disdain for the Danville program abundantly clear.

The 46th District may not have as much drama, but it does feature an interesting matchup Tuesday when Burgin plays Garrard County. The Bulldogs will be trying for a rare second straight regional trip and again will rely on the right arm of Zach Gross, who struck out 22 players in a game earlier this season, against Garrard.

It should be the most competitive 45th District tourney ever

Softball-wise, this should be the most competitive 45th District Tournament ever. Lincoln is the fourth seed, but it certainly would not be a shock to see the Patriots beat No. 1 seed Boyle Tuesday. Or it wouldn't be a shock to see today's Danville-Casey County winner emerge as the district champion. Or Boyle could easily justify why it is the No. 1 seed.

All four teams have star players capable of making game-winning plays, but all four teams have also been inconsistent offensively. That could lead to games where one or two key plays will dictate who wins.

The 44th District is not nearly as competitive. Garrard is clearly the class of the tourney, but the Lions still have had an interesting season. They started the year with a new coach, Ernie Browning, but he resigned midway of the year and assistant Jeff Meadors took over. However, Garrard's girls did not let the change impact their play.

Then there is track where area athletes will be competing in regional meets this week for berths in the state meet June 4-5 in Lexington. The top two finishers - along with any others who meet a preset state qualifying standard - advance to the next level.

No matter how dominant a runner has been, one false start or bad step that leads to a fall can shatter state meet hopes. It's the same for a jumper. Even a dominant athlete in the shot put or discus can have that one dismal day that ends a season short of a state berth.

That's why there is no one sports event that has more drama than a regional track meet where every tenth of a second or quarter-inch can make the difference between advancing to the state meet or having a season end.

Throw in the additional pressure of trying to help a team win a regional championship trophy and it makes for intense competition.

So if you get a chance this week, go to a game or meet. You probably won't leave disappointed.

If not, then just take time to wish an athlete good luck or congratulate him or her on the season because this is an emotional week where a compliment would be appreciated.

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