Trojans gearing up for playoffs
Published 8:41 am Thursday, April 18, 2019
Believe it or not, postseason baseball is upon us and Charles Henderson fans have a reason to be excited.
The Trojans enter the postseason with an overall record of 26-6 and are area champions. The Trojans will host Valley on Friday in a doubleheader beginning at 4:30. If a game three is necessary, it will be on Saturday.
“We have had a couple good days of practice this week,” said head coach Matt Whitton. “We will get back at it today and have a light day tomorrow. We will spend the next couple of days going over scouting reports, giving our guys as much information about our opponents that we can. We just have to make sure we are caught up on the details of the game and make sure we are in the position to play the best baseball we can.”
Valley comes in to the playoffs as the Area 4 runner-up. They finished 12-9 overall and 5-3 in area play. The Trojans played every other team in Area 4 this season, but they never got the opportunity to play Valley.
“We have spray charts on them, but we don’t know a whole lot about them,” Whitton said. “I haven’t seen those guys play. They are a quality ball club. They took two out of three against everybody in that area. They are going to come in here expecting to win and we are going to have to play good baseball in order to advance to next week.”
Whitton stepped in as head coach midway through last season and was thrown immediately into the fire. After a down season in 2018, the excitement has returned to Hogan’s Hole.
“I think our guys are excited,” Whitton said. “Playing at home in front of your fans is always good. I am happy for the seniors that they were able to host another first round game here. We just need to do our part and keep everybody engaged. We will prepare to put a good product on the field and hopefully get the result we are looking for.”
Best two-out-of-three playoff series bring along a different brand of baseball than what the Trojans experienced in the regular season. Although in area play the Trojans are accustomed to playing best-of-three series, the single game is usually played first with a doubleheader following the next day. In the postseason, the doubleheader is played with a tie-breaker game on the following day if necessary.
“The key is to get off to a fast start and take the momentum early,” Whitton said. “If you can do that and win game one, you feel confident about game two. If you get to Saturday, it’s a coin flip. If we have to go to Saturday, we will have to do a good job of being prepared and energized.”
All season long the Trojans have relied on a rotation that features Walker Stallworth, Brock Huner and Darryl Lee. Those guys will once again be relied on during the postseason.
“We have a bunch of guys that really want the ball in their hands,” Whitton said. “We will rely on the same three starters that we have relied on all year. I feel like we have quality arms that if something happens that we have enough guys in the bullpen to withstand a three-game stretch.”
The Trojans have a lineup that features Chance Pollard at the top, who is batting over .400 on the season and once he reaches base, it’s hard to keep him from scoring.
“Our top three guys are really the table-setters for us,” Whitton said. “When Chance Pollard gets on base, it’s almost inevitable that he is going to score. He has done a really good job for us. For us, it’s all about getting him on base early. We just need to keep swinging it the way we have been swinging it.”