DRAFFENVILLE – It’s post-sesaon time for summer baseball.
The Calvert City Titans move into American Legion Junior State Tournament play this week at Mike Miller Park.
The Titans, sponsored by William A. Doyle Post 236, will play at 5 p.m. Friday against the winner of the tourney’s opening game, slated for 6 p.m. Thursday.
That game will pit two-time defending champion Paducah Post 31 against Metcalf County Post 65.
Play continues through the weekend, with the championship to be decided on Sunday.
The Titans had a chance to even their record at 7-7 on Monday night in a double-header that closed their regular season. To achieve that, they needed to sweep the Chief Paduke Post 31 team at Brooks Stadium in Paducah.
However, that was a very realistic goal. The Titans won both ends of a double-header on June 25 against Post 31, taking a pair of one-run victories at home.
“Beating them twice in the regular season, that gives us a a lift,” coach Josh Inglish said prior to Monday night’s games.
Success in the rematch at Brooks “could really carry over into the state tournament,” Inglish said, but he knows his team will need to be sharp for the tourney regardless of how Monday night’s games turned out.
“We had a solid practice Wednesday,” Inglish said. “Our guys were fired up and communicating with each other. It just shows how much we’ve improved.”
The Titans won five of six games between June 19 and June 28. They did not play between a split at home on June 28 against Newburgh, Indiana, and Monday night’s games against Paducah.
Two concerns for Inglish revolve around the Titans’ pitching corps. Injuries have sidelined one top hurler and threaten to put another one out of commission. Also, the team has hampered itself with a high number of walks behind issued to opposing batters.
J.C. Goins is out for the season after suffering a shoulder injury early in the year, on June 14 during a double-header at Newburgh. Now, Inglish said, Trace Colson is questionable because of a lower back injury.
“Trace has been one of our go-to guys,” Inglish said. “We’re going to have to have some other guys step up. We have to have pitchers for the tournament.”
Colson was at the top of the Titans’ rotation, with Nathan Hopwood, Brandon Blossum and Lance Dyke close behind.
“As long as we’re throwing strikes, I don’t care who’s out there,” Inglish said. “We’ve got some good pitchers.”
At the plate, the Titans have been potent, scoring 65 runs in their first 12 games.
“Our offense has definitely come a long way,” Inglish said. “We’ve been producing a lot more runs.”
The team has improved particularly in getting runners home from scoring position, Inglish said.
“I’ve harped and harped all season about getting that runner home from third base with less than two outs,” he said. “We’re starting to execute some small-ball and capitalize on that.”
The other concern is the youth of the team. Only one player, Austin Poe, has reached the maximum age for the 17-and-under Legion Junior Baseball criteria.
This will be the fifth and final year for Post 236 to host the state junior tourney.
In the first of three games Friday, Ashland Post 76 meets Oldham County Post 39 at 2:30 p.m. After the Post 236 matchup against Thursday’s winner, the first elimination bracket game will match the losers of the Paducah-Metcalfe County and Ashland-Oldham County games.
The championship game is at 1 p.m. Sunday, with the “if” game at 3:30.