Seahawks, Knights set for second round showdown

Published 7:31 pm Monday, May 14, 2012

Southside's Sondra Sparks (left) crosses home plate during the Seahawks 20-0 win over North Edgecombe last week. Today, Southside will face Riverside in the second round of the playoffs. (WDN Photo/Brian Haines)

CHOCOWINITY — The Southside softball team aced its first test of the postseason by crushing North Edgecombe 20-0 in two-and-a-half innings but today’s second round challenge figures to be much challenging as top-seeded Seahawks (18-3) will clash with fellow Four Rivers Conference foe No. 4 Riverside (17-6).
After winning a first round laugher over the Warriors, Southside coach John Lohman said it’s time to turn the intensity up.
“We know this is a real game, a serious game, and we know we’re going to have to play our best to win,” Lohman said.
The two teams have faced off against one another twice this season and split as the Knights took the first meeting 1-0 before the Seahawks answered with a 4-3 victory near the end of the regular season.
With both games being decided by one run, Lohman said the key lesson learned from their regular season battles is that it’s imperative to play strong defense.
“We can’t make errors. We gave them all three of their runs in the second game, they were all unearned,” Lohman said. “They earned their run in the first game but in the second game we made errors and opened up the door for them to score.”
In what might be the toughest second round NCHSAA 1-A game in the state, both teams will come to the table with a potent lineup and premier pitching as the Knights will combat Seahawks’ ace Savannah Mumford with their own star hurler, Caroline Tetterton.
Lohman said the best way to quiet a Riverside lineup loaded with speed and power is to avoid throwing mistake pitches.
“We have to try not to throw anything over the middle of the plate,” Lohman said. “We have to go out and use the corners and not show them the same pitch twice, especially not twice in a row, because if you do that they are going to hit it some where.”
The Seahawks, who have won four conference championships in the past five years, can no doubt match Riverside’s firepower at the plate as it will present Tetterton with lineup in which there are no easy outs from the No. 1 through 9 spots in the order.
With both teams being equally matched, or close to it, Lohman felt the key to advancing to the District Round of the playoffs lies in the Seahawks’ execution.
“You have to beat them, they usually don’t beat themselves or make a lot of errors. They don’t do a lot of dumb things. You can’t count on them giving you the game you have to go out and take it,” Lohman said. “I want to see us focused and executing. We’ve been hitting, we have put the ball in play versus Caroline, but we just haven’t found holes … But you just can’t make mistakes versus a team like that because they will take advantage of it.”
The road will get no easier for Tuesday’s winner as it will advance to the third round of the playoffs and take on the winner of the No. 1 Creswell-No. 2 South Creek contest.