The Harlan County Black Bears will begin their quest for a 13th Region title against host South Laurel on Monday. The Bears will play in the second game of the day at 1 p.m.
The teams met once during the regular season, with Harlan County (26-6) falling at South Laurel 3-1 in a pitcher’s duel. The Cardinals enter the contest at 23-11.
“We are anxious to get started and feel good about it,” said Harlan County coach John Lewis. “We were able to put the ball in play at South Laurel earlier, and our pitching held them to four hits. We are going to rely on our pitching and just hope the guys put it in play.”
51st District champion Barbourville (11-8) will face Clay County (19-12) in the first game of the top bracket. The teams didn’t play during the regular season.
Middlesboro (24-8) will open play in the bottom half of the bracket as they take on 51st District runner-up Knox Central (8-26) at 4 p.m. The Yellow Jackets downed Knox Central 8-3 on May 11.
The final first round contest will feature 49th District champ North Laurel against Corbin.
The Jaguars enter the tournament at 27-6 and are considered a favorite to win the 13th Region title. North swept the regular season series against the Redhounds, winning 9-6 in March and 7-4 on May 7.
The tournament semifinals will be held on Tuesday with the championship set for Thursday.