“Throw the records out the door”
When Chase baseball and softball hosts R-S Central tonight the match-ups will showcase teams on opposite ends of the conference standings, but the last time these teams met it was much closer than their overall records.
At 4:30 p.m. the Lady Trojans of Chase (8-3, 5-2 SMAC) will throw out the first pitch against a struggling Hilltoppers team (3-10, 2-5 SMAC) in hopes of staying in the hunt for a conference crown.
But as history shows, county match-ups aren’t determined on paper, but on the field.
“Anytime you play in a county game you can throw the records out the door. We’re going to get their best game and we know that going in,” Chase head coach Daniel Bailey said.
“I expect my girls to come out and play a good, quality softball game. That’s what it’s going to take to come out on top,” Central head coach Melvin Digh added.
The Trojans need a crucial win if they want to stay in the hunt for the SMAC crown while R-S Central needs a win just to keep their playoff hopes alive.
“From here on out, the conference games we have are against teams that we have the ability to beat,” Digh said. “At this point we have got to win ball games to have a shot at the playoffs. From here on out it’s really a must-win situation.”
Bailey and the Lady Trojans are not taking the Hilltoppers lightly, especially since their meeting earlier in the season came down to the final out as Chase came out on top 5-4 on the road.
“Our girls know what they have to do to finish the season out but we don’t talk about that much because we’re not really a team that can look ahead,” Bailey said. “We’ve really bought into the idea of taking a game one play at a time. I think that’s why we got off to a 0-2 start. We were in the first or second inning thinking about the fifth or sixth.”
On the boy’s side, R-S Central baseball (11-5, 5-2) just finished a season sweep of East Rutherford and is looking to do the same to Chase (1-11, 0-7). But much like the girls, Central needed extra innings to come away with a 9-8 win over Chase in the 2013 East Rutherford Easter Tournament.
“The kids are excited to get out there and play them for a third time,” Central head coach Chadd Fowler said. “We talk about we always have to show up every day and that everyone in our league is capable of beating anybody so we hope to put together seven innings of good baseball.”
“The expectation when you play any county team is that you always want to give them your best because they’re wanting to do the same to you,” Chase head coach Matt Tipton added.
A win for the lowly Trojans may not help their conference standing or playoff hopes, but the impact of a win goes far beyond the win column.
“Right now we’re just playing to get better and take opportunities while we can,” Tipton said. “A win would be a big plus but I think realistically that’s what been bothering us. Every little mistake we make you think it could cost you the game but in reality you just need to go out there and have fun.”
First pitch for the boys is set for 7 p.m. at Chase High.