PRESTONSBURG, Ky. (WYMT) - It has been since 1948 that the Prestonsburg Blackcats have played in the state baseball tournament, and in just his third year as head coach, Shane Simpkins has the program going back to lexington.
The Blackcats won their first regional title since 1984 Thursday night, beating Belfry 3-0, and Simpkins says getting to this point was a goal when he took over three years ago.
"When I took over, that was one of our goals," says Simpkins. "We knew we had a pretty strong sophomore class when I took over, which are now our seniors. We've got eight seniors this year. That's kind of one of the things we've worked for. We knew that last year when we went to the regional tournament, we thought that we had a good shot to win it last year, but then we had that slip up against Paintsville in the first round. This year, that's one of the things that I've used with them was that game last year with Paintsville, and that was kind of our motto going in to this tournament was we weren't taking anybody lightly."
The Blackcats will open the first round on Monday against another coverage area team, the North Laurel Jaguars, who will be representing the 13th Region. First pitch at Whitaker Bank Ballpark in Lexington is scheduled for Monday afternoon at 1:30pm. This is Prestonsburg's first appearance in the state tournament since 1948 and North Laurel's first ever appearance in the state baseball tournament.