By RYAN HERMAN
CHERRYVILLE –– The managers didn’t have to say anything. The players already knew.
When the pairings were announced Monday for the opening round of the Area IV playoffs, neither Bobby Dale Reynolds of Cherryville Post 100 nor Bruce Bolick of Lincoln County Post 455 needed to give a motivational speech to get their players amped for the best-of-five series.
Rivals on the field and friends off, the players are all about holding bragging rights over their counterparts for another year.
Right now, those bragging rights belong to Post 455, which defeated Cherryville last July in the best-of-five semifinals 3-2 to end its streak of consecutive Area IV titles at six.
Reynolds, whose team has won nine straight Area IV opening playoff series, let that statistic speak for him.
“No, not really,” he said, when asked if he said anything to motivate his team, which had lost five straight until Tuesday’s 7-0 series-opening win. “We’ve been in this and done this a bunch. We know who put us out.”
Bolick, whose team finished tied for fifth with Union County in the Eastern Division but won the tie breaker after sweeping it in the regular season, was simply happy he didn’t have to travel very far for the opening series.
And the budding rivalry helps, too.
“It’s better than going to Haywood (County) or somewhere like that,” Bolick said. “We have a rivalry with them. That’s the plus about it.”
Chandler Jenkins, Tuesday’s winning pitcher, said a team-wide group text message went out Monday evening, and the only thing on Post 100’s mind was reclaiming bragging rights.
That’s all the motivation Cherryville needed to snap its losing streak.
“The whole team starts going around talking … how we owe them something. So yeah, everybody was ready for this one,” Jenkins said. “We just wanted to come out here and go after it.”