On the other field at Russell, South Laurel (31-5) will play host Russell (21-11) in the first game while Garrard County (14-14) will meet Boyle County (10-16) in the second game at 7:30.
If Danville beats Mercer, it would likely face a surprising Southwestern in Wednesday's semifinal. However, the Ads lost only 9-8 to Southwestern on April 20.
South Laurel has won 17 straight
Boyle, which beat Garrard 4-3 April 27, and Garrard landed in the bracket with South Laurel, which has won 17 straight games. South beat Boyle 14-2 and 11-0 during the season. However, it did lose 4-3 to Pulaski County and won only 3-2 over Russell County in eight innings on April 6.
Don't forget, too, that Boyle beat Danville twice during the season before the Admirals rallied to win the 45th District Tournament.
"With North Laurel being out, everybody has a shot. Or at least everybody should feel that way," Danville coach Jerry Perry said. "North had not been playing well at the end of the season, but everybody still knew they were the team to beat. Now we all have to feel like we have a chance."
While Perry was happy not to draw Pulaski Southwestern, he warned that Mercer might be the region's most improved team. The Scotties lost only 2-0 to Garrard in the 46th District Tournament championship game to back up Perry's point.
"We got a little bit better draw than we have the past few years when we always drew a team from the 48th District," Perry said. "But we still have to play. I know Mercer has to feel like it has a great chance to beat us."
Still, in past years teams could seldom hope for more than maybe winning one game before running into unbeatable North Laurel. Now all eight teams in the tournament have to feel if they survive the opening round, they have a legitimate chance to win a semifinal game. And if they do, North Laurel will not be waiting to end the party in the title game this year.
Dynasties can be fun. Just ask the Boyle County football team. But as dominating as North Laurel's softball run has been, having a new regional champion this year is going to do far more for the sport than another North title could have ever done.
"We're excited, but so is everybody else," Perry said. "As soon as North Laurel got beat, it changed everything about the regional."