Putnam County (13-6, 8-6 in Region 4) at Berrien (20-5, 12-0 in Region 1
When: Today; Doubleheader begins 3 p.m.; “If” game Saturday
Where: Dr. Frank Carter Field, Berrien High
Outlook: After being upset in the first round of last year’s state playoffs, the Berrien Rebels have returned in 2013 with a thunderous roar, climbing to the top of the rankings. The Rebels have an experienced team that went undefeated in Region 1-AA, one of the toughest regions in the state. Berrien, which has won three straight Region 1-AA championships, will host Putnam County, which is averaging five runs per game this season.
Local player to watch: Berrien’s five seniors. The Rebels have five seniors with plenty of experience and have been the reason the Rebels have climbed to the state’s top ranking and a 20-win season. With experienced gained as sophomores and juniors, this year’s senior class has ample experience in games and has been able to blow open games with one big inning countless time this season, while proving they can win close games, too.
Coach Doug Nix’s thoughts: “They are going to be good, obviously they are in the playoffs. You can’ take anyone lightly. They have a good left-handed pitcher.”
On if last year’s first round upset is motivating team?
“We are using that. I don’t think we took Brantley lightly (last year). I mean they made the quarterfinals. Our thing here, I tell them, ‘Look we aren’t worried about Putnam. We are worried about Berrien. We are worried about what we need to do.’ We are focused on ourselves and they know if they keep winning they move on.”
Cook (17-8, 8-4 in Region 1) at Lamar County (18-6, 12-2 in Region 4)
When: Today; Doubleheader begins 4 p.m.; “If” game Saturday
Where: Lamar County High School, Barnesville
Outlook: Cook returns to the playoffs for the 25th consecutive season, this time with one of the youngest teams in program history. The Hornets have started four freshman on a regular basis. In round one, Cook will visit Lamar County, the region champion from Region 4. Lamar County is known as a power hitting team, having hit three home runs in one inning in a recent game. Cook has allowed just one home run this entire season.
Local player to watch: Ross Pickle, catcher. A senior on a young Hornets team, Pickle will play a key role in leading his young teammates through a playoff series.
Coach Cleve Edwards’ thoughts: “They won 18 ball games throughout the regular season, so I am expecting a solid team. They hit for power a lot more than we do. That is something different than what we have seen this year. I am going at it like we are treating it like it is another ball game. Obviously it holds more weight, but the kids are excited. We have done our part throughout the regular season to get here, and we are in the tournament. Now lets make a run to win this thing.”