The Mercer County Titans have to figure they have a pretty good draw in the state baseball tournament. Then again, folks at Boyd County, Union County and North Oldham are probably thinking the same thing.
Opportunity is knocking for all four of those teams, which are grouped in the same quarter of the bracket for the tournament, which began today at Whitaker Bank Ballpark in Lexington. Any of the four have to believe they have a legitimate shot to win at least two games, and perhaps they do.
Mercer, Union and North Oldham are the only first-time regional champions in the tourney, and while Boyd is a perennial power in northeastern Kentucky, it hasn’t won its region since 2006. In addition, none of those four are among the eight ranked teams in the 16-team field. No. 1 Lexington Catholic, No. 9 Pleasure Ridge Park and No. 21 Lawrence County are all in the other section of the lower bracket, and the upper bracket includes No. 2 St. Xavier, No. 4 Central Hardin, No. 11 Apollo, No. 18 Clay County (which lost to St. X today) and No. 24 Warren East.
* * *
If you’re interested in reading up on Mercer, Boyd and the other teams in the field, click here to find rosters and stats for all 16 teams, as links to in-progress stats, online audio and video coverage and box scores.
If you’re going to Tuesday’s game, you should know that the first pitch is scheduled for 8:30 p.m. but could be significantly later depending upon the length of the 6 p.m. PRP-Lexington Catholic game. Advance ticket sales have ended, but tickets will be available at the Whitaker Bank Ballpark box office for $10 and $14. All seating is general admission except for the lower-lever seats behind home plate, which are the $14 tickets. Mercer will be the visiting team for its game and will be in the third-base dugout.
The box office and ballpark gates will open at 5 p.m. for the Mercer session, and the KHSAA warns that there have historically been long lines at the ticket windows just before game time. Parking is $3 in the ballpark lot.
If Mercer wins, discounted general admission tickets for its next game — which would be at 6 p.m. Thursday — will be available for $8 for 30 minutes after Tuesday’s game.