Staff writer Mike Fields will follow all the action on his Fields Notes blog , and through daily stories in the Herald-Leader. Also be sure to check out photo galleries from the Herald-Leader photo staff all week on Kentucky.com.
A look at the teams in the state tournament: -->
Coach: Stephen Hatchell
Key players: Region MVP Dondre McCarte is hitting .435 in the playoffs and .302 for the year. Chase Sevic is batting .341, and Marc Wynstra has been swinging a hot bat in the post-season with a .364 average. Austin Clark and Luke Guhy have been the pitching leaders in the playoffs. On the season, Guhy is 5-2 with a 3.50 ERA, 54 Ks and 32 walks in 52 innings.
History lesson: This is Mayfield's first region title since 1979, and its first appearance in the state tournament since 1968 when it lost to Southern in the semifinals.
Coach: Chad Robison
Key players: The Braves' top pitchers are Aaron Hedgepath (6-4, 1.93 ERA, 89 Ks, 34 walks, 58 innings) and Blaine Alvey (6-1, 1.40 ERA, 62 Ks, 10 walks, 55 innings). Both hit well, too. Alvey is batting .434 and Hedgepath .430. Randall Miller, Taylor Shirel and Alvey lead in RBI.
History lesson: Robison, in his first year as coach, led Union County to its first-ever title in a region usually dominated by Henderson County and Christian County.
Coach: Bob Mantooth
Key players: Dalton West and Luke Daugherty, who started as freshmen on Apollo's 2008 state final four team, star as seniors. West is batting .431 with 39 RBI and 6 homers. Daugherty is at .396 with 22 RBI. The pitching staff is led by Brandon Hamilton (7-3, 3.38), Matt Hodskins (6-3, 1.87) and Matthew Johnson (3-1, 1.81).
History lesson: Mantooth, who notched his 800th win this season, has guided the Eagles to nine region titles. They made it to the state final four in 1994, 2003, 2007 and 2008.
Coach: Wes Sanford
Key players: Senior pitcher Mark Biggs, who throws 90 mph, signed with Louisville and was an eighth-round draft pick of the Toronto Blue Jays last week. He's only worked 30 innings this season and has 41 Ks and 16 walks. Biggs, who also plays third, is batting .442 with 12 homers and 45 RBI. Zach Gross is hitting .409 with 38 RBI.
History lesson: Warren East is region champ for the first time since 1988, when it reached the state final four before losing to Boyd County.
Region : 5th
Coach: Todd Thompson
Key players: Russ Morse is a hitting machine, batting .520 with 52 RBI. Ryan Squires is hitting .475 with 43 RBI. Leadoff man Levin McCamish has scored 53 runs. The Bruins boast a .402 team batting average. They've got pitching, too, led by Austin Walters (11-2, 2.10) and Dylan Shoffner (5-0, 0.93).
History lesson: Central Hardin returns just about its entire lineup from last year's team that lost to Greenup County in the first round of the state tournament, including starting pitcher Shoffner.
Pleasure Ridge Park
Coach: Bill Miller
Key players: Cody Angus, who's headed to Wabash Valley (Ill.), has been a beast for the Panthers as a pitcher (10-1, 1.15, 116 Ks, 24 walks, 73 innings) and hitter (.557, 44 RBI). Aaron Hockman is batting .420 with 28 RBI, and Marcus Brown is at .386 with 7 homers. PRP's speed is a big asset, too.
History lesson: Nobody's been in the state spotlight more than PRP under Miller, who has 946 career wins, including four state titles and four runner-up finishes.
Coach: John Jefferson
Key players: The Tigers have three Division I signees — UK-bound Ryan Loehnert and WKU-bound Matt Spalding and Ian Tompkins. Spalding (6-4, 1.40, 76 Ks, 18 walks, 60 innings) and Tompkins (8-2, 2.85, 102 Ks, 39 walks, 54 innings) have been the aces while Loehnert's been slowed by a bad shoulder. Loehnert does play second and is among the best hitters (.325, 23 RBI). St. Xavier sometimes has trouble scoring runs, which makes its 2.57 team ERA so important.
History lesson: Jefferson is retiring as coach after this season, so he'd like to go out a winner. St. Xavier has won five state titles, but only one (1981) has come in the last 60 years.
Coach: Matt Walker
Key players: Quint Heady (.500, 45 RBI) and Connor Heady (.424, 42 runs) key the Mustangs' offense, along with Joe Russo (.373), Tyler Bolin (.363), John Kohler (.324) and region MVP Matt Rowe (.317). Tim LeMastus is among the pitching leaders (4-3, 3.91, 43 Ks, 20 walks, 43 innings).
History lesson: This is the first region baseball title for North Oldham, which opened in 2003.
Newport Cent. Catholic
Coach: Jeff Schulkens
Key players: Jake Cain, player of the year in the 9th Region, stars on the mound (6-0, 1.70, 44 Ks, 25 walks, 37 innings) and at the plate (.364, 46 runs, 39 RBI). Brady Hightchew (.462, 46 runs), Luke Schmits (.451, 44 RBI) and Nick Wolterman (.411, 33 runs) also wield big bats for the Thoroughbreds.
History lesson: NewCath has a rich history, with four state titles between 1946-56. It won the region in 2008 and 1999, but this is the T-breds first state tournament since 1976 when it lost to Owensboro 1-0 in finals.
Coach: Larry Allison
Key players: T.K. Korb (.491, 9 homers, 55 RBI, 43 runs), Logan McQuerry (.476, 48 runs, 44 RBI) and Zach Pasley (.464, 35 RBI) power the offense. Anthony Withrow (7-0, 1.95, 41 Ks, 8 walks, 43 innings) is the strong arm of the staff, followed by Tyler Martinez (5-4, 4.95, 37 Ks, 13 walks, 43 innings). The Cards have shored up their defense in the post-season.
History lesson: Clark County is region champ for the fifth time in the last 20 years.
Coach: Taylor Brooks
Key players: Taylor Martin, who helped the Knights win the 2009 state title, is at it again. The UK signee is 7-0 with a 0.96 ERA, 54 Ks and 15 walks in 51 innings. Tyler Arthur (7-3, 2.12, 57 Ks, 14 walks, 43 innings) has shone, too. LexCath's offense is led by Troy Miller (.419, 33 runs, 33 RBI), Tyler Jackson (.327), Tyler Wells (32 runs, 30 RBI) and Evan Fraliex (.324). Fraliex, a third baseman, is part of a solid defense.
History lesson: LexCath has won three state titles since 1999. It made the final four in 1994 and 1995.
Coach: Jeremy Shope
Key players: Miami of Ohio signees Clay Cinnamon and Matthew Honchel are star pitchers and hitters. On the mound, Cinnamon is 5-0 with a 3.00 ERA, 33 Ks, 11 walks in 28 innings); Honchel is 8-2 with a 3.04 ERA, 39 Ks, 12 walks in 53 innings. Cinnamon is batting .339 with 22 runs and 23 RBI. Honchel is at .496, 40 runs, 36 RBI. John Ingram (.345, 30 RBI) and Colin Buckner (.398, 37 runs) also swing consistent bats for the Titans, who scored 44 runs on 45 hits in 18 innings in the region.
History lesson: This is Mercer County's first region title.
Coach: Jason Smith
Key players: Senior catcher John Wilson has huge numbers: .552, 8 homers, 58 RBI, 49 runs, and he's only struck out four times all season. He's also 4-0 on the mound. Corey Corum, Tanner Hensley and Tyler Young are hitting over .400 for the Tigers, who have a robust .417 team average. Todd McDaniel (8-1, 4.67 ERA), Brandon Griffin (4-3, 3.74) and Justin Smith (7-2, 2.09) lead the pitching staff.
History lesson: Clay County is in the state tournament for the second year in a row. The Tigers made it the state final four in 1997 before losing to Harrison County in the semifinals.
Letcher Co. Central
Coach: Bryan Dean
Key players: Shortstop Tanner Sexton (.481, 38 runs, 35 RBI), Corey Dollarhide (.435, 44 runs) and Caleb Baker (.294, 37 runs) lead the offense. Jordan Short has been the workhorse on the mound. He's 6-5 with a 4.45 ERA, 53 Ks, 19 walks in 55 innings. Max Hall is 3-3 with a 3.50 ERA, 32 Ks, 15 walks in 32 innings. The Cougars start three freshmen and two sophomores.
History lesson: Letcher Central also won the region in 2007.
Coach: Travis Feltner
Key players: UK signee Chandler Shepherd, a star since he was a freshman, is having a great senior year. He's 12-0 with a 0.67 ERA, 136 Ks and 8 walks in 73 innings. He's also hitting .419 with 7 homers and 45 runs. Tate Banks has been big, too. He's 7-0 with a 2.00 ERA, 83 Ks and 22 walks in 63 innings. Banks is batting .430 with 44 RBI and 32 runs. Clark Rice (.375) and Ethan Daniel (.356) have been consistent at the plate, too.
History lesson: This is Lawrence County's third state tournament in four years.
B oyd County
Coach: Brandon Ramsey
Key players: Cody Clark and Trey Salisbury anchor the pitching staff and swing the bat, too. Region MVP Clark is 7-1 with a 2.09 ERA, 56 Ks, 11 walks in 57 innings. He's batting .344. Salisbury is 6-3 with a 1.96 ERA, 93 Ks and 15 walks in 50 innings. Leadoff man Austin Smith (.469, 40 runs) and Kyle Pauley (.382, 34 runs) spark the offense.
History lesson: This is the Lions' 15th region title, but first under Ramsey. Boyd County has a history in the state tournament. It won it all in 2001, and made the final four in 2000 and 2005.