South faces top seed
South Rowan survived a six-day, four-game series with Concord while Lexington had a relatively easy time with Stanly County, but South is still in pretty good shape heading into its second-round series with an opponent it has fared well against in previous playoff matchups.
The best-of-five series starts tonight at Holt-Moffitt Field. Game 2 is scheduled for the South diamond on Monday.
Lexington (22-7) won the Southern Division of Area III regular-season race with an awesome offense that features Appalachian State signee Zack Briggs.
“They put up 30 runs in two games against us,” South coach David Wright said. “So we’ve got to find a way to produce a few runs of our own and try to hold them down to something reasonable.”
South lost 8-5 at home against Lexington and was crushed 22-4 at Holt-Moffitt Field.
Still, South has positive history against Lexington. It knocked off Lexington in the teams’ previous playoff meetings in 2003 and 2006. South prevailed 3-1 in the second round in 2003 and won 3-2 in the first round in 2006.
South’s pitching is not in dire shape heading into the series because it got complete-game efforts against Concord from Cameron Park, Randy Shepherd and Weston Church. South survived the six-day series with two frontline hurlers, Ryan Bostian and Walker Snow, not throwing a single pitch.
“Concord played us tough and played us hard especially in the games at their place, but we’re still going to Lexington in position to challenge them in this series,” Wright said.
Wright indicated Bostian, Snow or Scott Ashby will pitch Game 1. Lexington is expected to counter with its ace, Catawba signee Clay Watson, a North Davidson product.
While Lexington’s pitching staff hasn’t gotten as much credit as its prolific offense, lefties Jordon Hudson and Zach Joyce were tough, especially in Lexington’s stretch run to overtake Mooresville for the top seed.
The key to South’s chances will be finding a way to split the first two games. If the series is extended to four or five games, South will be able to bring back two of its key arms, Shepherd and Church. They won’t be available early in the series.
NOTES: South has now beaten Concord three out of four times in their playoff matchups over the years. Concord won in 2002. South won in 2001 and 2007 prior to this year’s 3-1 triumph. … Shepherd has received a scholarship offer from Appalachian State.