The 13th Region softball tournament pairings were announced on Friday, and the Harlan County Lady Bears will kick off the first round at South Laurel on Monday.
The three-time defending 52nd District champions will face 51st District runner-up Barbourville in the first round at noon. Harlan County (17-13) downed Barbourville (8-15) 17-2 in four innings in their only meeting this season. However, the Lady Bears entered the first round last year’s regional tournament as a heavy favorite only to be upset by the Lady Tigers.
Regional power North Laurel (32-5) will face Corbin (20-15) at 2 p.m. The Lady Jaguars have dominated the 13th Region Tournament in recent years with five straight titles to their credit. The teams’ only meeting during the regular season was competitive, with North edging the Lady Hounds 2-1.
50th District champion and host South Laurel will meet Clay County in the first game of the bottom bracket at 4 p.m. The Lady Cardinals enter the tournament at 23-12, including a victory over rival North Laurel, while Clay County is 23-8. The two squads have not met this season.
The final game will feature 52nd District runner-up Bell County (25-9) vs 51st District champion Knox Central (11-10) at 6 p.m. The Lady Cats defeated Knox Central 7-0 in the final game of the regular season.
The semifinals will be played Tuesday at 6 p.m. and 8 p.m., with the championship scheduled for Thursday at 6:30 p.m.