West Lincoln and Lincolnton found out who theyâ€™ll play in the first round of the Midwest 2A Conference Tournament on Saturday.
Lincolnton, 16-8 and 10-4 in the Midwest 2A will square off against the Bunker Hill Bears on Monday at 7 p.m. The second place conference finish allows them to host the first round at Jonathan Brookinsâ€™ Field.
Wolves head coach Bobby Martin is not looking too far ahead as he knows just how dangerous the conference tournament can be.
â€œWe have to get by the first round to get to the second and then get by the second to get to the championship. We have to take the tournament one game at a time. By getting to the conference final you secure your spot for at least second in the league,â€ he said.
Martin and the Wolves have incentive to place in the top two in the conference.
â€œIf East Rutherford or my team doesnâ€™t win the conference championship, I can get bumped to third,â€ Martin points out.
When asked whoâ€™s been playing well of late, Martin is quick to point out three senior leaders.
â€œJustin Keever is hitting .529 and Bradley Dalrymple is hitting the ball on the button, heâ€™s making contact. Colby Burgin is beginning to come around again. He went through a little slide there, but heâ€™s coming around at a good time and we need him,â€ he said.
For the Wolves, who have already qualified for the 2A State Playoffs, itâ€™s been a long wait making their first appearance since 1999.
So is the coach whoâ€™s enjoyed a stellar baseball career ready?
â€œWeâ€™re looking forward to getting started, playing well in the conference tournament and this is the first time weâ€™ve been in the state playoffs since 1999, itâ€™s been a long absence and weâ€™re ready to get back at it,â€ Martin said.
West Lincoln, on the other hand, is in a similar position as Lincolnton with the Rebels also hosting the first round.
The third-seeded Rebels, 15-9 and 8-6 MW2A, will host the sixth-seeded Chase Trojans at 7 p.m.
West is facing the Trojans for the second time in less than a week. Last Thursday, the Rebels dismantled Chase 9-2.
Rebelsâ€™ head coach Allan Chapman is taking the same approach as Martin, but he also has other goals.
â€œWe want to take care of business as far as getting a good win without having to use a lot of pitching. So we can go into the rest of the week with everybody still able to throw,â€ he said.
West would play the winner of the Lincolnton/Bunker Hill Tuesday at 4:30 p.m. at Bunker Hill. If Bunker Hill wins, the game on Tuesday will be at 7 p.m.
Chapman is very pleased with his teamâ€™s play ever since the Easter Tournament.
â€œOther than the Shelby game weâ€™ve played really well. Weâ€™ve hit the ball as well as anybody. Weâ€™ve had four or five 12-hit games and the pitching has been solid,â€ he said.
Chapman, though pleased with his whole team, is happy with two players of his in particular
â€œBrandan Jones has really been hotâ€”he leads the team in RBIs and has a .330 average right now. Dylan Anthony continues to play real solid offensively, his speed on the bases and the amount of runs he creates just by getting on is a catalyst on offense,â€ he said.by John Mark Brooks