The unknown can be a very scary thing for coaches. Be that as it may, North Lincoln Knights baseball coach Sean Andrews has yet to learn a lot about his 1A State Playoff opponent, Rosman.
Despite numerous phone calls to Big Smoky Mountain Conference coaches to learn of his opponent, Andrewsâ€™ research has reaped little fruit.
The Tigers (14-2) won the Big Smoky Mountain Conference crown and is led by do-everything star shortstop/pitcher Alex McMahan.
McMahan hit .500 (24-for-48) on the season and on the mound was just as dazzling, compiling a 1.00 ERA.
Thatâ€™s the extent of the information Andrews has gained regarding his Tuesday afternoon opponent.
North Lincoln will depart from Pumpkin Center around 11 a.m. with three and a half hours of chartered bus travel ahead of them.
Andrews believes taking a charter bus, compliments of athletic director Mark Lackey, will allow his players to get some sleep on the way up there.
â€œWhen they get to the field, theyâ€™ll be laid back. My wonderful manager, Annesa (Jenkins), will be keeping them in line,â€ he said.
The Knights will practice this afternoon, where theyâ€™ll take ground balls, have some batting practice and get back to just enjoying the game.
After a 7-0 drubbing by Cherryville in the Southern Foothills Championship game, they are eager to do so.
â€œWeâ€™ll go at them (Rosman) just like any other game. We know very little about them, but hopefully weâ€™ll be aggressive and take advantage of their mistakes,â€ Andrews said.
Josh Belk and Alex Loftin are expected to carry the pitching load in the Knightsâ€™ playoff run. Andrews is fully confident in both of them.
â€œIf they can come out and get ahead in the count, weâ€™re a much better team and the defense is on their toes, instead of on their heels.â€
â€œWe feed off our pitching. If our pitching is doing well, then weâ€™ll hit better,â€ Andrews said.
Belk, the teamâ€™s ace, who suffered the loss in the title game, will get a chance to get the bad taste of his mouth. Only this time, it will be in a game that has bigger implications.
â€œAs a pitcher, you canâ€™t think about your past, you canâ€™t think about last week or last month, you just have to take it one pitch at a time and focus on that,â€ Andrews said.
The Knights (11-14) are hoping for a storybook ending after beginning their season 1-9. Despite its beginning, North Lincoln (11-14) finished second in the Southern Foothillsâ€™ Conference.
While a Cinderella-like ending would be nice, Andrews isnâ€™t getting to far ahead of himself.
â€œIâ€™m excited to get in there and see what we can do,â€ he said of their first round match-up.
The game is slated for 5 p.m.
by John Mark Brooks