If anyone knows what a team needs to make a deep postseason run, it’s Jeremy Shope.
Nearly a year ago, Shope guided Mercer County deeper into the baseball playoffs than any area team had gone before, taking the Titans all the way to the state championship game.
In so doing, he helped to raise the profile of 12th Region baseball within Kentucky, and the Mercer coach said the region’s profile is further enhanced this season by number of quality teams capable of making a run at the regional title and taking their own shot at state tournament success.
“I¿feel like it’s improved tremendously,” Shope said. “We’ve got a bunch of coaches in the 12th Region that do a great job and kids that work hard. I really think our region can compete on any given day with any region in the state.”
Only one 12th Region team will get the chance to do that at the state tournament, and Shope said thanks to Mercer’s experience last year he has a better idea of what the makeup of that team might be.
“It starts out with having a special group of kids and having a special group of seniors,” he said. “Seniors are so important to set the tone for the rest of the team. We had a group of seniors that were nice and relaxed and loose ... and just believed they could win.”