Danville opens 12th Region play against Burgin

June 01, 2004|MARTY WARREN

LONDON - Danville and Burgin will meet for the fourth time this season when 12th Region Tournament play starts here tonight.

Two games will be played at two sites - North Laurel and South Laurel - tonight while the semifinals Wednesday and championship game Thursday will be played at North Laurel.

The tourney opener at North Laurel pits Pulaski County (22-6) against McCreary Central (9-25) at 6 p.m. while Danville (23-11) plays Burgin (16-17) 30 minutes after the conclusion of the first game. At South Laurel, Mercer County (19-16) meets Pulaski Southwestern (25-9) in the 6 p.m. opener while defending champion Russell County (20-12) meets Lincoln County (19-17) in the nightcap.

Burgin coach Terry Pitman said he will send his ace, Zack Gross (5-5, 2.87 earned run average) to the mound tonight in hopes of beating the Admirals for the first time this year.


"He gave a great outing last year (in a 3-2 loss to Russell) and this is what we have been shooting for all year," Pitman said. "We were just happy to get here last year, but now we want to win a game. We are still young, but the fact we were able to get here last year should make it a little easier this time."

Danville coach Paul Morse said he is undecided about who he will pitch against the Bulldogs. Rich Witten is ineligible after pitching seven innings against Lincoln County in the district final Saturday but he still has Joey Beldon (8-4), Deangelo Durham (7-2) or Jeremy Potts (4-2).

"It's hard to beat a team three times, and now we are asking the kids to do it again," Morse said. "I coached Zack during the summer and I think I know some of his tendencies. He had 22 strikeouts in a game earlier in the year, and I know what he is capable of."

Mercer probably got toughest draw

Mercer coach Jeremy Shope knows he probably got the toughest draw of anyone in the tournament.

"You want to win your district so that you can draw a runner-up, but Southwestern can play," the Mercer coach said. "They are one of the best teams in the region. You have to beat the best teams to win the tournament, so we might as well play them right off the bat."

Shope will choose between sophomore Michael Bottoms (6-2) or John Wickliffe (4-5) as his starter.

Lincoln County had to play two games Saturday in the 45th District Tournament and is short on pitching.

"We are sort of at a disadvantage after having to play two games Saturday," Lincoln coach Jimmy Hill said. "We played Russell earlier in the year and faced their ace (Adam Blakey 7-0, 0.88 ERA) and played very well. Hopefully, we'll do as well Tuesday."

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