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Meade County softball coach Mike Harreld sees this weekend as a trial by fire for his young Lady Waves.
Sure they get to stay home in the friendly confines of Meade-Olin Park, but that might be the only thing the Lady Waves have in their favor.
With three coaches’ top-25 teams – reigning state tournament champion Louisville Mercy (No. 3), Louisville Male (14th) and Central Hardin (23rd) – and three other teams receiving votes (Grayson County, Louisville Butler and Shelbyville Collins) in the 16-team field, wins could be at a premium for Meade County.
“It’s a loaded field,” Harreld said.
The field is divided into four pools of four teams. Each team plays three pool games with the pool champion and pool runner-up advancing to the single-elimination tournament beginning at 1:30 p.m. Saturday. The semifinals are set for 3 p.m. and the final is at 4:30.
Meade County (1-1) is in Pool A, which plays all of its games on Field 4. The Lady Waves play Male (1-0) at 5:30 and Spencer County (1-2) at 8:30 tonight and Collins (3-1) at 10:30 a.m. Saturday. Male is coached by Central Hardin graduate and former lady Bruins assistant Josh Bloomer, who led Mercy to the title last year.
North Hardin (0-1) is in Pool B, which plays all of its games on Field 3. The Trojans play Butler at 5:30 and Bethlehem (2-1) at 8:30 tonight and Frankfort Western Hills (0-5) at 10:30 a.m. Saturday.
LaRue County (1-4) is in Pool C, which plays its games tonight on Field 2 and Saturday on Field 5. The Lady Hawks play Grayson County (2-1 entering Thursday’s game against Edmonson County) at 8:30 tonight, and Mercy (0-1) at 9 a.m. and Corydon (Ind.) Central at 10:30 a.m. Saturday.
Central Hardin (1-0) is in Pool D, which plays its games tonight on Field 5 and Saturday on Field 4. The Lady Bruins plays Holy Cross (5-0 entering Thursday’s game with Louisville Valley) at 5:30 and South Oldham (2-2) at 8:30 tonight and Breckinridge County (0-0 entering Thursday’s season-opener against Ohio County) at 10:30 a.m. Saturday.
“It will be a very big challenge,” Harreld said. “But one thing I like about our tournament is we get to play some good teams and you kind of find out where you stand. You don’t get let into false assumptions that you’re good. When you’re playing average teams, you’ll find out where you stand when you see some of the top teams in the state.”
Nathaniel Bryancan be reached at (270) 505-1758 or firstname.lastname@example.org