PLAYIN’ FOR KEEPS/BGHS baseball opens with Logan County on Monday evening; South Warren softball faces Clinton County at WKU on Monday


There weren’t many surprises in the KHSAA 4th Region draw on Saturday morning at the Warren East High School cafeteria.

In fact, Nate Isenberg, the Bowling Green High School baseball coach, had a premonition his team would be paired against Logan County in quarterfinal play of the KHSAA 4th Region Tournament, which will be held at Henry J. Stahl Field on the BGHS campus.

First pitch for that game is at 5:30 p.m.

Baseball and softball coaches traveled to Warren East on Saturday to learn of their potential paths to the state tournament, and Bowling Green’s baseball team earned a home game in 4th Region play after defeating South Warren 11-2 in the KHSAA 14th District Tournament championship game on Tuesday evening at Warren Central High School.

The Purples (20-11 overall) will play host to Logan County (18-13) in quarterfinal play, with the winner to square off with either 16th Region champion Russell County (23-9) or Warren East (25-8). The Raiders, last year’s runner-up to Russell County in the 4th Region Tournament, will travel to Russell Springs on Monday, with the winner moving on to Tuesday’s semifinal games at WKU’s Nick Denes Field

“It’s just like last year,” said Isenberg, whose team defeated Logan County 11-8 last year in Russellville before running into Russell County, which defeated the Purples 7-3 on its way to the KHSAA state championship game in Lexington, only to fall to Louisville’s St. Xavier High School 11-1 at Kentucky Pride Park on the University of Kentucky campus.

Isenberg pointed out that the Purples also drew Logan County in 2018, and 2019, in quarterfinal play before the COVID-19 pandemic wiped out postseason play in all spring sports in 2020.

“There’s usually no shockers here,” Isenberg said. “You’ve got to look at your pitching, and potential matchups, because you’re playing to get to state, not just win one game.”

Warren East rolled past Franklin-Simpson, 8-2, and Clinton County, 9-0, to reach last year’s 4th Region title game at Nick Denes Field. The Raiders’ Magical Mystery Tour ended at that point, however, as Russell Springs collected 11 hits in a 10-5 victory over Warren East in the 4th championship game.

Warren East coach Wes Sanford wasn’t surprised by his team’s draw, either, but his focus is on getting the Raiders back on track, on the practice field, before they tangle with Russell Springs.. Barren County (13-17 overall) will play host to Clinton County (12-16) in its quarterfinal matchup, and the winner of that game will then square off with either South Warren (23-9) or Franklin-Simpson (14-19) in the semifinals at WKU.

“We’re playing so bad right now … we’re just trying to get better,” Sanford said. “We’re going to be playing good teams, all the way, from here on out. Nothing is going to come easily.”

South Warren, the No. 1 seed in the KHSAA’s 14th District, fell behind quickly before dropping an 11-2 decision to Bowling Green on Tuesday night in the 14th championship game. The Spartans are looking for their first trip to the KHSAA state tournament since 2015, when they won one game in Lexington before being eliminated by Scott County, 7-0, at Whitaker Bank Ballpark.

(The KHSAA moved the state tournament to the University of Kentucky’s home field for the 2022 season.)

“Franklin-Simpson is an extremely well coached team,” Gage said, “and we know ’em pretty well, being only 11 miles away. We played (Franklin-Simpson) a couple times, early on, but both teams have come a long way since then.”

The Spartans defeated Franklin-Simpson, 10-0, on Opening Day at South Warren Ballpark, and they completed a two-game sweep by stopping the Wildcats, 8-2, in the Marshall County Slugest on April 15 in Drafenville, Kentucky.

“I’d probably make Warren East the favorite,” Gage said. “You’ve got to win that first game … you never know, with high school kids. There’s a lot of good teams in the field.”

In fast-pitch softball, South Warren and Barren County loom as the clear favorites.

South Warren (29-4) defeated archrival Greenwood, 6-3, in the KHSAA 14th District championship game on Wednesday night. The Spartans will take on Clinton County (26-11), in a game at the WKU softball complex scheduled for Monday at 7:30 p.m. The winner of that game will face either Logan County (18-9) or Allen County-Scottsville (13-16).

In the second day of softball quarterfinals, Barren County will square off with Russellville, scheduled for a 5:30 p.m. start, followed by Greenwood (16-13) and Cumberland County (19-14) in the nightcap.