SPARTANS SURGE/South Warren eliminates BGHS, 6-2, in KHSAA 14th District tourney; Spartans will face Greenwood for championship


The stakes were understood for weeks, even months.

Claim the No. 1 seed for the KHSAA’s 14th District Baseball Tournament, or face the potential of an exit before the Memorial Day weekend, before the 4th Region Tournament unfolds at WKU’s Nick Denes Field.

Even if you’re the eighth-ranked team in the Commonwealth, as Bowling Green High School found itself over the weekend in the MaxPreps statewide poll.

Greenwood won its final five 14th District games in regular-season play, including a critical sweep of crosstown rival South Warren, giving the Gators the pole position for the race to the district championship.

After Greenwood eliminated a rebuilt, retooled Warren Central squad, 17-0 in three innings on Monday evening, Gators coach Jason Jaggers reflected on the obvious before homestanding Bowling Green squared off against South Warren in the nightcap at Harold J. Stihl Field.

“The team that doesn’t win could possibly go out and win the region next week,” Jaggers said.

Alas, that wasn’t possible, as the semifinal games determine who keeps playing as the calendar winds its way toward the month of June.

South Warren left-hander Mikey Coradini scattered six hits while going the distance in a workmanlike 6-2 victory over the Purples, sending the Spartans into Tuesday night’s KHSAA 14th District championship game against Greenwood (25-9).

South Warren, which improved to 18-16 overall, struck for three runs in the second inning and never trailed in sidelining the Purples (29-7) for the season.

“It’s the nature of the beast,” said BGHS coach Adam Whitt, who filled in for veteran coach Nathan Isenberg because of a medical issue this season. “Coradini was very good. He kept us off balance … We had a chance to pounce (in the top of the third inning) and we didn’t …

“We made a couple blunders on the base paths. We tried a safety squeeze and got a one-hopper to the pitcher …”

South Warren was on top of its game, defensively, with junior shortstop Griffin Rardin leading the way.

First pitch for Tuesday’s 14th District championship game is set for 7 p.m. South Warren is the defending champion; the Spartans went on to win the KHSAA 4th Region Tournament last year on its way to finishing as a quarterfinalist in the state tournament.


Bowling Green was the visiting team for Monday’s second semifinal tussle, but South Warren struck first with three runs in the bottom of the second inning.

The Spartans went with the “small ball” strategy to take the early lead, scoring their first run on a throwing error after Isenberg fielded a sacrifice bunt from South’s DH, Kye Rich. That play left junior second baseman Ty Croghan at third base, and the Spartans’ Gray Pearson brought him home with a perfectly placed bunt to make it 2-0.

Then, eighth grader Brandon Perkins, batting leadoff for South Warren, lined an RBI single into right-center field, and the Purples trailed 3-0. It would have been worse, for Bowling Green, if Purples catcher Ethan Madison hadn’t thrown out Pearson attempting to steal second base with one out.

But the tone for the game had clearly been set.

“I was just trying to get zeroes on the board for us,” said junior Spartans left-hander Mikey Coradini.

Bowling Green left the bases loaded in the top of the second inning, without scoring, but the Purples struck for their only runs of the game in the top of the third.

Leadoff man Evan Schallert, a junior second baseman, lined a single to right field before BGHS catcher Ethan Madison lashed a double down the left-field line, leaving two base runners in scoring position.

Bowling Green’s Grayson Newman, who missed virtually the entire regular season with an ankle injury, lined an RBI single to center field, trimming the Purples’ deficit to 3-1.

That brought Drew Isenberg to the plate, and he got a little too much of Coradini’s pitch on a bunt trying to bring courtesy runner Hudson Nottmeier across the plate. Coradini got the ball to South’s catcher, Joseph Fentress, who made the tag for the first out of the inning.

The Purples’ Max Buchanon, one of four seniors on the BGHS roster — Madison, third baseman Reid Buser and shortstop Ben Davenport are the other three — then lined an RBI single into center field, but courtesy runner Landon Gilbert hesitated briefly, rounding second base, and he was thrown out at third by the Spartans’ Brandon Perkins.

At that point, it became the Griffin Rardin Show, more or less.

The South Warren junior, the son of WKU head coach Marc Rardin, announced over the weekend that he’d be playing college baseball for the Hilltoppers during the 2025-26 school year.

Rardin handled four ground balls, one off Coradini’s glove and another deep into the hole in shallow left field, before recording critical outs for the Spartans on their way to victory. Coradini retired 13 of the final 14 BGHS batters he faced, earning his team-high ninth victory against a single defeat.

Rardin made another play deep in the hole in left field to retire Madison for the second out of the first inning. In the seventh, the Spartans’ Brandon Perkins made a diving grab on Luke Idlett’s sinking line drive to center field.

Perkins has played in just 11 varsity games since making the move up from South Warren Middle School.

“That’s the best I’ve seen, in shortstop play, in a high school baseball game,” veteran South Warren coach Chris Gage said. “Getting hits is one thing, but taking them away is another …”

BGHS coach Adam Whitt was in no position to disagree.

“(Rardin) was awesome, he was absolutely awesome,” said Whitt, who watched it all happen from the third-base coaches’ box. “He made one play five yards into left field …”

Griffin Rardin took an “aw, shucks” approach to the praise, from both dugouts, and somewhere in Ruston, Louisiana, his father Marc Rardin had to be smiling. The Hilltoppers (34-20 overall) open play in the Conference USA Tournament on Wednesday morning against Florida International University.

Griffin Rardin made sure to credit Gray Pearson, South’s first baseman, for setting up to catch the long throws across the infield, sometimes on one hop.

“I wasn’t doing much at the plate,” said Rardin, who went 0-for-4 for the night. “I just trust my boy, Gray, at first … I believe in my ability to play at that level.”

Pearson and South left-hander Mikey Coradini have seen it for themselves for a couple seasons.

“Griff was great,” Coradini said.

“I haven’t had the best year, hitting, but my team, they had faith in me,” said Pearson, who went 2-for-3 with three RBI. “You can’t count us out …”


It was a tough assignment for the Dragons, who finish the season 3-19 under first-year coach Javen Roberson. Two years ago, Warren Central didn’t even compete in the KHSAA 14th District Tournament at South Warren.

The Dragons struck for victories over Caverna and Hopkins County Central in the final week of regular-season play, taking the latter game 11-10 on their home field.

“They’re definitely improving,” Gators coach Jason Jaggers said.

Greenwood, however, has been a steady squad most of the season, and the Gators are putting a four-game losing streak from the first two weeks of May in the rear-view mirror. Greenwood will take a 25-9 record into Tuesday night’s district championship game against South Warren.

Greenwood needed just four hits to put nine runs on the board in the top of the first inning, and the Gators moved into position to win by run rule by adding eight more runs in the second, without the benefit of a base hit.

Junior right-hander Ryan Loiars was the winning pitcher, retiring nine of the 10 Warren Central batters he faced. Greenwood’s Andrew Jolly had a three-run triple to center field in the first inning before adding a sacrifice fly in the second. The Gators sent 13 batters to the plate in the first, forcing the first of two Warren Central pitching changes.

Neither Jaggers nor South coach Chris Gage were ready to announce their starting pitcher for Tuesday’s title tilt after Monday’s games. Greenwood swept the two-game series between the teams in the final days of April, taking a 7-4 decision in the first game before rolling to a 9-2 triumph in the second.