CHHS peaking at just the
Published 12:00 am Tuesday, April 25, 2000
right time for playoff run
By STEVEN G. WATSON
CHHS head baseball coach Steve Garrett has a dilemma – and what a great dilemma to have.
The Trojans are on an eight-game winning streak heading into the playoffs. They have set the all-time record for wins in a season by any CHHS club. They brought back the Area Championship to Troy after a 10-year hiatus and his club seems to be playing the best baseball they have all season.
So what could possibly be troubling the second-year CHHS coach? Not enough positions on the baseball diamond.
"It’s hard to decide who to play where," Garrett said with a smile after the Trojans’ 11-1 win over the Carroll Eagles Thursday. "There are so many guys on this team stepping up that you just don’t have the space to play them all. We’ve got a lot of guys in there that are hitting the ball well and some guys on the bench that are contributing in a huge way. I guess it’s a great problem to have."
What better time to have that type of problem than as the Trojans head into the first round of the ASHAA Class 5A State Playoffs Wednesday. The team is peaking and hope that the surge they have put on since their last loss back on March 29 to No. 9 ranked Jeff Davis will propel them deep into the post season.
"They are definitely peaking at the right time," Garrett said. "They have a lot of confidence right now and they realize that you don’t have to go strike everybody out. The pitcher has got eight guys behind him and they can depend on everyone to do the job they are put out there to do."
"Everybody has just got a great attitude right now," senior Hunter Mathews said. "We know if we keep on playing like we are right now we’ve got a real good chance in the playoffs."
One of the strengths the Trojans hope to utilize is home-field advantage. CHHS has lost only one game in "Hogan’s Hole" at Frazier Field all year (in a 6-0 shutout to No. 7 Stanhope). If that steak continues it could well put CHHS into the third round as the Trojans have the potential of two home games in the playoff’s first and second single-elimination schedule.
By winning the Area they have won the right to host the first round, but in the second round, if a runner-up team wins on the road to advance they host the second round. In the case of two Area Champions advancing, however, the top team in the bracket hosts. That team would be CHHS.
"A lot of teams are going to have a tough time coming down here and beating us," senior Jonathan Neeley said. "We practice here every day and we’re used to it.
"We have a lot of guys peaking on this team about right now," he continued. "We’ve got great depth and we feel like you can put anybody off the bench out there to play and they’ll play for us."
The confidence in this team is only one key that could lead them to a successful post season. What the Trojans will depend on most is their flawless defense.
It’s something that Garrett has stressed all year long and probably the leading ingredient in the Trojans’ success.
CHHS has played error-free ball in their last three games and made the most of their opponents miscues. That attention to detail has helped the Trojans out score their final three Area opponents 26-4.
If Garrett’s team continues to play flawless defense and get the key hits by it’s team leaders, there is no limit to how far they can go.
The Trojans will host the first round Wednesday April 26.