Seahawks set to battle Gates
CHOCOWINITY — A scrappy and determined bunch, the Southside baseball team fought hard to stay afloat in a tough Four Rivers Conference and that effort has lead to the Seahawks making the playoffs in back-to-back seasons for the first time in school history.
With a 12-9 record, Southside was able to earn a wildcard birth into the postseason where it will face Gates County (16-6), the No. 1 seed from the Tar Roanoke Conference on the road today at 6 p.m.
“I’m extremely proud of the guys for reaching this point,” Southside coach Jeff Carrow said. “We’re trying to build a program over here on the south side of the river and we have a great group of guys who have busted their buts all year long and we deserve a playoff position.”
The Seahawks have a roster full of dedicated ball players and Carrow said that if his team wants to advance to the second round of the NCHSAA 1-A playoffs it must continue to do what got it there.
“We just have to go out and play our game,” Carrow said. “We’re a solid hitting team and as long as we play defense behind our pitchers I think we can compete with just about anyone.”
That confidence is bred by the fact that Southside plays in an extremely good conference and has earned its stripes by taking on some of the top teams in the East on a nightly basis.
“I think that’s extremely important. I feel like we play in the toughest 1-A league in the state as far as baseball is concerned. We’ve seen quality opponents every single conference game,” Carrow said. “All due respect to Gates County because I know they are a quality team with quality wins, but I feel like our conference has prepared us to make a good playoff run. I don’t think our guys will be intimidated.”
In order to advance, the Seahawks will need another good outing from ace Terrill Moore and hitting from more than just top-of-the-order guys like Blake Jones, Alex Graves, Hayden Bogart and Moore.
“We’re going to have to be able to hit the ball 1-9, it’s plain and simple,” Carrow said. “We’ve got a great mix of speed and power. It’s not so much where one person has to stand out, we’re going to have to get base runners on. I don’t care whether it’s the first guy or ninth guy in the lineup. We have to get people on and we got to move them over.”
While the offense will need to manufacture runs, the defense must be able to limit its mistakes.
“Terrill is going to have to pitch well and we’re going to have to play solid defense,” Carrow said. “From what I understand Gates County is a good hitting team that pulls the ball a lot so the left side of our infield is going to have be solid, which I’m confident in that because we have two seniors there in (third baseman) Trey Elks and (shortstop) Blake Jones.”
If the Seahawks can survive their first round matchup with Gates, they will move on to face the winner of the No. 2 Roxboro-No.3 Northampton-East matchup in the second round.