The best-of-three Class AA Region 3 baseball championship series pitting Oak Hill against Shady Spring begins tonight at 6:30 p.m. at Jerry Epperly Field in Oak Hill.
The scene shifts to Shady Spring for a 6 p.m. game Tuesday, and the if-necessary contest will be back at Oak Hill Wednesday at 6:30 p.m.
The Red Devils and Tigers split regular season contests. Oak Hill won 7-6 at home on April 18, and Shady Spring flipped the script with a 9-8 victory at home on April 24. The Red Devils led 7-2 in the first game before Shady Spring rallied to make it close. In the second outing, Oak Hill was "down 6-1 before we caught our breath," said Oak Hill head coach Dan Poland.
Poland said the Red Devils (21-12) will have to be leery of the Tigers (17-9) on several fronts.
"From the outside looking in, we're pretty evenly-matched," said Poland. "They've got three kids who are strong pitchers.
"People don't talk about their hitting a lot, but one through nine, they hit the ball. Of course, we hit the ball pretty well, too."
Defensively, Poland stressed, Shady Spring is "really good."
The Tigers possess the experience edge, as well. "They've got eight seniors," Poland said.
His team will embrace the chance to advance to the state tournament in Charleston for the first time since 2008, when the Red Devils fell 2-1 to Point Pleasant in the semifinals.
Having a few days to gather themselves after defeating Wyoming East 4-2 last Tuesday for the Section 1 crown, the Red Devils are ready for the Shady Spring challenge, their coach says. "Since we finished up Tuesday, we've had time to work on some stuff and get some soreness out. We're healthy going in."
"It's a fun time," Poland added. "It's exciting.
"Hopefully, we've got a couple more (wins) in us."
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Oak Hill statistical leaders are as follows:
• Caleb Jones, 61.1 innings, 8-2 record, 72 Ks, 1.826 ERA
• Zane Wolfe, 36.1 innings, 3-1 record, 56 Ks, 1.54 ERA
• Lane Jordan, 39.2 innings, 4-1 record, 42 Ks, 1.2 ERA
• Bradley Lokant, 40.2 innings, 2-4 record, 44 Ks, 5.15 ERA.
• Lane Jordan, .375 average (42-for-112), 12 doubles, 24 RBIs
• Ty Nelson, .340 average (34-for-100), 7 doubles, 30 RBIs
• Zane Wolfe, .339 average (40-for-118), 6 doubles, 19 RBIs
• Bradley Lokant, .330 average (34-for-103), 4 doubles, 22 RBIs.
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