The 2nd Region baseball draw for the playoffs was announced Friday afternoon. Here are the winners and losers of the draw, at least to the extent that anything that isn’t the outcome of a game can be considered a win or a loss.
Winner: Madisonville North Hopkins. The Maroons did an excellent job of rebounding from a 1-6 start to get the top seed in the 7th District tournament, but faltered badly in districts, barely getting by a Dawson Springs team they had beaten 54-0 over two games, and then falling to another regular-season victim of the North broom, Caldwell County.
Still, there was 2-in-3 chance of North (17-13) getting a good draw for the first round (i.e. avoiding the 6th District), and they got probably the best possible draw: the winner of the 5th District, where all the teams are well under .500. Crittenden County’s 13-21 record is perhaps deceptive; they played Union County, who has the best overall record in the 2nd Region, close in two games (losing 2-1 and 4-0), and they played Caldwell and Murray close in one of two games while being drubbed in the other. Still, North has a +32 run differential compared to the Rockets’ -30, and at any rate, it’s much better than drawing Henderson, who picked up two of its 23 wins at the expense of the Maroons (and to the tune of 16-0 last time they met, on March 23). Instead, a Henderson rematch won’t be able to happen until the second round.
Loser: Hopkinsville. The other possible draw for North was Hopkinsville (17-14), over whom the Maroons swept a home-and-home series this year in two close contests. Hopkinsville’s reward for winning the 8th District: Union and its 27 wins. The two met on April 27 and five innings later, the future 6th District runner-ups were heading off the field with a 12-2 win.
Winner: Caldwell. For getting over the hump and ending North’s 15-year streak atop the district, the Tigers (22-15) got a team they’ve beaten twice in five-inning affairs, 12-21 Livingston Central. Nor is this an aberration for Livingston: they’ve lost 10 games by 10 runs or more and have been outscored by a total of 108 runs on the year.
Loser: Christian County. Somebody has to play Henderson. Christian (19-19) lost 17-1 and 7-2 this year to Hendo, who twice beat the only region team to beat them (Union).
Incidentally, if you rank the teams by run differential, here’s how they stand:
1) Union (+138)
2) Henderson (+129)
3) Caldwell (+107)
4) Hopkinsville (+50)
5) North (+32)
6) Crittenden (-30)
7) Christian (-38)
8) Livingston (-118)
Add those rankings to our matchups and you get:
#3 Caldwell vs. #8 Livingston Central
#4 Hopkinsville vs. #1 Union
#6 Crittenden vs. #5 North
#2 Henderson vs. #7 Caldwell
Had Hopkins County Central or Dawson pulled off their district upsets, they would’ve been last in run differential and even worse than Livingston at -137 (Central) or -161 (Dawson). Fort Campbell and Trigg County both missed the playoffs despite having run differentials of +21, both good enough for sixth on this list.
If you’re curious as to how these eight played in region games, well, here you go. Not much movement — only Crittenden moves more than one spot, and downward to boot:
1) Henderson 14-1
2) Caldwell 18-4
3) Union 15-4
4) Hopkinsville 11-6
5) North 12-7
6) Christian 10-6
7) Livingston Central 6-7
8) Crittenden 10-12
The tournament starts at 10 a.m. Monday in Henderson with that last game, Henderson vs. Caldwell, and proceeds backward up that list of games for a quadruple-header. (North plays at 1 p.m.) The brackets are in the order shown above, though.