CHHS has ‘new life’ heading into playoffs

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, April 24, 2002

Sports Editor

In his fourth year as head coach of the Charles Henderson baseball team, Steve Garrett is looking at the bright side of things.

CHHS (9-15), marking their fourth postseason appearance in as many seasons, finished second to Eufaula in Class 5A Area 4 and will travel to play Area 7 champ Demopolis on Wednesday.

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It was Eufaula’s one-run, ninth inning win over Carroll-Ozark on Friday which gave the Trojans new life and a fresh start to a season that has been less then memorable.

"It may be better for us to be runner-up in the area this year," said Garrett on Monday as the Trojans prepared to head to Northview for the final game of the regular season slate. "Not that we wouldn’t want to play St. Paul. St. Paul is who we would probably match-up with in the second round if we were area champs. I’d like to get to the third round this year. Stanhope-Elmore’s got a good shot of meeting us in the third round. If we’re able to get that far."

Demopolis presents a problem to Garrett and the Trojans’ pitching staff in general. Usually a coach can count on the opposition’s hitting becoming weaker as the starting pitcher works his way toward the bottom of the order. That appears not to be the case with the Tigers, who average .357 at the plate as a starting unit.

"From what I’ve heard, one through nine, they’ve got a good hitting team. They’re pretty strong," said Garrett.

Strong offense and good pitching have propelled the Tigers to a 17-4 record.

"They’re supposed to have a good lefty, who throws pretty hard and that’s probably who we’ll face," said Garrett.

Garrett said he will go with sophomore Pete Van Horn as his starter on Wednesday with junior Justin Sims working as relief. Both Van Horn (flu) and Sims (strep throat) were trying to work through illness last week and Garrett said he still doesn’t have everyone as healthy as he would like. The Trojans dropped a 2-1 game to fifth-ranked St. James last Friday.

"We were hurting pretty bad, because we had (Chase) Kelly out with an injured shoulder and Sims was out with strep throat and he was supposed to start," he said. "That really hurt us taking his bat out of the lineup, plus taking him off the mound, or even in the outfield. But it’s been like this all season. Injuries, youth and whatever else."

The start for Wednesday’s game is at 6 p.m.