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Knights will try to tame Tigers

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, Andrews’ 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.
That’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.
“When they get to the field, they’ll be laid back. My wonderful manager, Annesa (Jenkins), will be keeping them in line,” he said.
The Knights will practice this afternoon, where they’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.
“We’ll go at them (Rosman) just like any other game. We know very little about them, but hopefully we’ll be aggressive and take advantage of their mistakes,” Andrews said.
Josh Belk and Alex Loftin are expected to carry the pitching load in the Knights’ playoff run. Andrews is fully confident in both of them.
“If they can come out and get ahead in the count, we’re a much better team and the defense is on their toes, instead of on their heels.”
“We feed off our pitching. If our pitching is doing well, then we’ll hit better,” Andrews said.
Belk, the team’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.
“As a pitcher, you can’t think about your past, you can’t think about last week or last month, you just have to take it one pitch at a time and focus on that,” 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 Foothills’ Conference.
While a Cinderella-like ending would be nice, Andrews isn’t getting to far ahead of himself.
“I’m excited to get in there and see what we can do,” he said of their first round match-up.
The game is slated for 5 p.m.
by John Mark Brooks

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