New alignment now kicks in for baseball and softball

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 SHEPHERDSVILLE – The final implementation of the realignment of the Sixth and Seventh Regions will take place this spring with the change taking affect for baseball and softball.

We’ve already had two seasons of the new alignment for basketball and last spring the new post-season will be in place for the first time.

The main news with the changes is the same as it has been for basketball soccer and volleyball – that the three Bullitt County schools will not be competing for the same district titles for the first time ever in their respective sports.

Bullitt East baseball head coach Jeff Bowles joked earlier this week that his team is not moving. Technically that is true as the Chargers will remain in the 24th District. It is just that the red and gold will be competing along with Jeffersontown, Fern Creek and Whitefield Academy.

The Charger baseball program has won eight straight district titles.

The big change in all the spring realignments will come in softball of the new 24th District. While Bullitt East has the same group of new schools as baseball, coach Ricky Hoffman’s fast-pitch team must also compete with defending state champion Mercy now. It is safe to say that no other district in the state has two teams that were in last year’s state tournament as Bullitt East won the Sixth Region title and Mercy the Seventh Region crown.

Now, Mercy will be the pre-season favorite in the Sixth Region as well as the state under first-year head coach Greg Vorbrink, the former North Bullitt assistant coach. The Jaguars best player is former Lady Eagle player Jordan Vorbrink who is only a sophomore.

Mercy will play at Bullitt East on April 29.

For Bullitt Central and North Bullitt, the spring realignment is good news (other than the fact that Mercy now competes in the Sixth Region). Suddenly, without Bullitt East, the other two Bullitt County schools will have solid chances at post-season titles.

In the new 23rd District, Bullitt Central and North Bullitt will compete with Southern, Moore and Evangel (which does not field a softball team). Southern is normally pretty good in both baseball and softball, but Moore is a little more of a question mark as they have rarely played the Bullitt County teams in the past.

In baseball — competing against Bullitt East — North Bullitt and Bullitt Central have not won district titles in almost a decade. Now, they should be right in the thick of things.

 North Bullitt and Bullitt Central have each won district titles in softball over the past six years and could battle for the top spot in the district year-in and year-out with this alignment.

At this point, all of the district tournaments involving the Bullitt County teams will be in Bullitt County. Bullitt Central will hosting the two 23rd District events while Bullitt East will be hosting the two 24th District tourneys.

Tradition Changes

For at least 15 years, the traditional start of the high school spring sports season came on the Monday after the second state basketball tournament.

That changed last year to a date ten days earlier, but since the change came so late, most of the teams stuck to the old start date.

Now, teams can start the season on the same day as the first of the state basketball tournaments. This year, that meant starting on March 6. The limit on the number of games did not change and the dates for the post-season in softball, baseball, track and tennis did not change.

So, teams had the option of stretching out their seasons.

This year, four of the six area baseball and softball teams have opted to start earlier than in the past. Bullitt Central baseball had a game scheduled for last Thursday and coach G.J. Moore had six games scheduled before the old start date.

On the other hand, both North Bullitt baseball and Bullitt Central softball went with the old starting date.

The changes might sound good on paper, but in reality the key shouldn’t be a longer season, but more a consideration of the weather. Scheduling ball games in early March is a gamble to say the least. The Cougar baseball team had three games scheduled for last week and only got to play one, a 12-2 victory over Bardstown on Saturday.

That’s not to say that the weather will be any better in the middle of March, but still, scheduling games in early March seems like a real gamble.

Edelen to State

Bullitt East teacher John Edelen will be taking a few days off from the classroom this week as he will be officiating the Girls’ Kentucky State Basketball Tournament this week in Bowling Green.

Edelen, who lives in Glenmary, referees in the Sixth and Seventh Regions. He also serves as a volunteer assistant baseball coach at Bullitt East.