The Valdosta Daily Times
After a few days off to relax and enjoy spring break, the Lowndes baseball team gets back to work today, when players will get their first on-field work since a doubleheader against Colquitt County last week.
“They needed the break,” Lowndes coach Danny Redshaw said. “It is not something we usually get to do and it worked out this year with no region games in spring break.”
While some teams opted to play games throughout the spring break week — Valdosta and Berrien have already placed twice, Cook once — Redshaw built Lowndes’ schedule to allow time for his players to take a few days off, before heading to Jacksonville, Fla. this weekend to face Eagles View and Providence.
“With us playing doubleheaders this year, the schedule just worked out where we don’t have any region games during spring break,” Redshaw said.
Sitting atop the region standings, the Vikings (10-6, 7-1 Region 1-6A) hold a one-game advantage for first place over Colquitt County, and have already clinched at least the No. 4 seed for the state playoffs that begin in May.
While they are off from region play this week, the Vikings can put an even greater distance between them and the rest of the teams in the region this Friday night, if Colquitt County and Coffee split their scheduled doubleheader in Douglas.
“We will see what the scores are, but all we can worry about is what we can control,” Redshaw said.
With four games remaining in region play — a doubleheader against Brunswick (0-6) next Friday and a doubleheader at Camden County (3-3) the Friday after — the Vikings can clinch the region championship by winning three of their final four region games and with one Colquitt County loss.
If the Vikings clinch the region championship and the No. 1 seed, they will gain a massive advantage for the state playoffs; they will have home-field advantage in every round, including the state championship series, if they make it that deep.
“That is nice; that would be nice to have if we can get to it,” Redshaw said. “That is a goal of ours this season.”
Once in the playoffs, the Vikings could hold the upper-hand against teams they’ll face. Each round of the state playoffs is a best-of-three series, starting with a doubleheader on the first day. Teams from Region 1 have been playing doubleheaders all season, something no other team has yet to experience on such a consistent basis.
“There is no doubt. Every team from our region that makes the playoffs, we are going to be better prepared than any other team,” Redshaw said. “We know what to expect in doubleheaders.”
As for this weekend’s games in Florida, Redshaw said the Vikings’ starters will get normal work, while some of the younger players will be rotated into the lineup, much like they are during mid-week games.
“We are going to give our guys some work and then get some young guys some work,” Redshaw said. “We want to make sure everybody gets some work. But we are going down there to win.”