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Regional baseball, softball get an early start Monday

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By Mike Farner

 LOUISVILLE - With high temperatures in the forecast for Monday, officials in Jefferson County reworked the schedules for Monday's Sixth and Seventh Region softball and baseball tournaments, meaning that games will start as early as 9 a.m. on Memorial Day.
 The highlight for the four Bullitt County teams still alive comes in the first softball game on Monday when Bullitt Central squares off with three-time defending Sixth Region champion Pleasure Ridge Park at 9 a.m. in a game at Southern High School. Bullitt East, which defeated Bullitt Central in the 24th District final on Wednesday, will take the field at Southern at 11 p.m. on Monday against Presentation.
 Baseball also got a reworked schedule with extra venues added so that no games stretch into the afternoon heat on Monday.
 Bullitt East, which as the best record in the state at 32-6 will play at 11:15 on Monday at Eastern High School against Holy Cross. The Sixth Region Tournament will start at 9 a.m. at St. Xavier High School with North Bullitt taking on a strong DeSales team in a contest that will have two teams with 20-win seasons.
 As in the past, after the first round on Monday, all of the action will shift to the facilities at the University of Louisville.
 The Sixth Region Softball semi-finals will be played on Tuesday at Ulmer Stadium starting at 5:30 p.m. The championship game will be played at Ulmer Stadium on Thursday at 5:30 p.m.
 Baseball will move from high school sites to the University of Louisville's Patterson Stadium for the semi-finals and final. The Sixth Region semi-finals will be played on Wednesday starting at 5 p.m. The championship game will then take place at 8:15 p.m. on Thursday.
Sixth Region Softball
 Bullitt East and Bullitt Central move into Sixth Region play with the two best records and because of Bullitt East's 2-0 win over Bullitt Central in district play, the first post-season round will be more difficult for the Lady Cougars.
 On Monday at 9 a.m. at Southern, Bullitt Central will take on a strong Pleasure Ridge Park team that has won the last three regional titles. Bullitt Central will not be able to sneak up on the Lady Panthers as they beat PRP 4-2 back on April 25 in Shepherdsville.
 Bullitt East got a much easier opening game as they will open tournament play at 11 a.m. on Monday at Southern against a Presentation team that the red and gold beat 15-0 in four innings in the first round of last year's regional tournament. The Lady Chargers did not play Presentation this spring, but Bullitt Central beat the Toppers 12-0 in six innings a day after they beat PRP.
  Entering this week's tournament, there is no team in the Sixth Region ranked among the top-25 teams in the state, although, Bullitt East, Butler and Pleasure Ridge Park have all been ranked at one time or another this spring.
 Butler may wear the favorites' crown but only by the narrowest of margins. The Bearettes did defeat PRP (3-1), Bullitt Central (6-1) and Bullitt East (7-4) during the regular season. Butler did not meet the other top team in the region, Holy Cross.
Sixth Region Baseball
 Bullitt East had the glittering record this spring with 32 wins and it has come against a strong schedule, but the Chargers don't enter regional play with the same big headlines they had a few years ago when they had some of the best players in the state. Now, the Chargers are taking more of a no-name approach.
 Still, despite winning a ninth straight district title last week, the Chargers will have to be careful in Monday's opening round when they take on Holy Cross in a game at 11:15 a.m. at Eastern High School. Holy Cross only has a 9-19 record, but last season the Cougars knocked off Butler in a first-round game 7-5.
 Bullitt East and Holy Cross did not meet this spring as that was the only game that Bullitt East had to cancel due to rain.
 The highlight game in the first round of the Sixth Region Tournament will be the first one as North Bullitt will square off with DeSales at 9 a.m. Both teams have won 20 games this spring, but they did not play each other. For comparison, DeSales did play Bullitt East, losing 3-2.
 As is often the case in the Sixth Region, the top teams are Bullitt East, Pleasure Ridge Park and Butler. Butler did beat Bullitt East 2-0 in the regular season, the only game that the Chargers lost to a Sixth Region team. Bullitt East and PRP did not meet during the regular season. PRP beat Butler 4-3 as the Panthers have not lost to a Sixth Region team this season. Besides the loss to PRP, Butler also has a strange 6-5 loss to Fairdale within the Sixth Region.
 At the end of the season, Pleasure Ridge Park was ranked 17th in the state, one spot ahead of Bullitt East.