Bowling Green, Russell County to square off for Fourth Region title

Purples seeking first title since 2016, Lakers looking for first since 2009

When the Fourth Region Baseball Tournament began, many were expecting at least one of the two 13thDistrict teams—Logan County and/or Franklin-Simpson—to be in the title game, and some were even anticipating for the two district rivals to square off for the region crown for the second straight year.

But Bowling Green shut down the Cougars 9-0 in the first round on Monday night, and Russell County knocked off the Wildcats 2-0 in the semifinals on Wednesday night to make it the Purples and Lakers competing for supremacy of the Fourth Region at Western Kentucky University’s Nick Denes Field on Thursday night.

The Purples—the runners-up of the 14th District—advanced to the title game with the victory over Logan County and a 12-2 win over 16thDistrict runner-up Cumberland County in the semifinals on Wednesday evening.

Senior Will Garske leads the charge offensively for Bowling Green with a batting average of .426, 14 doubles and 37 runs batted in on the year, but the Purples also have power at the plate. Four players—Garske, Eli Thurman, Trevor Dennis and Joe Howard—have hit at least three home runs this season for Bowling Green, who is looking to capture the region title again like they did in 2016.

Meanwhile Russell County is seeking its first region title since 2009, when the Lakers defeated Bowling Green.

Russell County boasts the best record in the region with a mark of 26-7, and the Lakers are currently undefeated in Fourth Region play this season-winning all 13 of their games against in-region competition.

The Lakers enter Thursday night’s game as winners of seven straight—downing Monroe County and Franklin-Simpson in the regional tournament to advance to the title game.

A player to note for Russell County is leadoff batter Brayton Scales, who is currently one of the best baserunners in all of Kentucky. The senior is ranked 21st in the state in stolen bases with 26, and he is 23rdin runs scored with 44 on the season.

First pitch between the Lakers and Purples is slated for 6 p.m. at Nick Denes Field. The winner will play the 11th Region champion (Lafayette, Scott County, Madison Central or Scott County) in the first round of the Whitaker Bank/KHSAA State Baseball Tournamentnext Friday in Lexington.