Rod Boykin and first-year Edgewood assistant Scott Tubbs talk  strategy between innings in Edgewood’s sweep of Montgomery’s Eastwood Academy. Photo by Griffin Pritchard
Rod Boykin and first-year Edgewood assistant Scott Tubbs talk
strategy between innings in Edgewood’s sweep of Montgomery’s Eastwood Academy. Photo by Griffin Pritchard

EA begins road to Paterson today, hosts Marengo

Published 9:19am Thursday, April 25, 2013

Edgewood’s descent into Class A baseball, has brought with it some new opponents. But when it starts the playoffs, the team on the other side is one all-too familiar.

The Wildcats (No. 1 in the Independent School rankings and 38-3) will host Marengo Academy Thursday afternoon in a best-of-three series at Skinner Field.

“They are a young team, but sometimes young teams are dangerous because they have no fear,” said Wildcats coach Bobby Carr. “We played them in March and beat them 11-0, but baseball is baseball. Right now we’re not swinging the bat very well, and we’ve got to fix that.”

Edgewood and the Longhorns will tangle Thursday afternoon beginning at 3:30.

The AISA playoffs began last week with Marengo eliminating Sparta Academy.

“I’m sure it helps that we are coming into this game off a win,” said Eddie Edwards, first-year Longhorns coach. “Baseball is a mental game to say the least. I’d much rather be coming into a series against Edgewood having won a couple. That’s a positive and something our kids can build on.”

The Wildcats, confronted with a 10-day layoff, traveled to Phenix City Monday to tangle with Glenwood.

Edgewood needed nine innings to disband the Gators, 2-1.

“It’s always a good game when we play each other this late in the season,” said Carr. “Last year we beat them 8-7. This year, it was 1-0 in the fifth.”

W.B. Hill drove in Heath Young on a bases-loaded single to tie the game. The Wildcats had the chance to take the lead, but Hunter Glenn was thrown out at the plate.

Edgewood won the game in the ninth when John Mark Cosby drove a single to right scoring Hill from second.

“We didn’t swing the bat well at all against Glenwood, and we are usually a big hitting team,” said Carr. “That’s something we’re going to sort out over the next couple of days at practice.”

While the Wildcats batted .206 as a team in the win over Glenwood, pitching has become the most consistent aspect of the Edgewood gameplan this spring.

On Thursday, Carr will run seniors Bailey Hansen (first game, 7-0) and Gage Pregno (second game, 9-2) out to toe the rubber.

“Bailey has a no-hitter this season, and Pregno is just in control whenever he steps out there,” said Carr. “We’ve got a couple of other guys we can run out there if we need to. Chase Laney is doing a great job coming on in relief and then Taylor Hawthorne came on and pitched three great innings (Monday) night to shut the door and get the win.”

Edwards will retort with the services of Hayden Huckabee, Brant Lewis, Brad Collins, David Dunn and Wyatt Hale.

“We are really young and there’s not much difference between the kids on our staff,” said Edwards. “We are really young this year. We’ve got two juniors (Hale and Lewis) and the rest of our team is eighth, ninth and tenth graders.”

Offensively, the Wildcats are led by Rod Boykin (.544 batting average), Dylan Ingram (.436) and Cosby (.434).

“Naturally everbody knows about Edgewood and what they’ve done,” said Edwards. “Coach Carr has done a great job and then Coach (Scott) Tubs has come in and he adds that much more to the program. They are solid from top to bottom. Our boys know that. We’ve still got to go out and execute.”

The execution of the little things, as Carr puts it, is where Edgewood’s focus will be leading up to Thursday’s doubleheader.

“We polish things up at this point,” said Carr. “We are going to focus on being great at the little things because that’s what matters this time of the year.”

The winner of the series winner advances to play the Jackson/Abbeville Christian winner.

According to Carr if the two No. 1’s win (Edgewood and Jackson), the Wildcats will travel to play the semifinal. If Abbeville defeats Jackson, then Edgewood will host.

The AISA state championship series is scheduled for May 7 (doubleheader beginning that afternoon at 3:30) at Montgomery’s Paterson Field.

The “if” game is scheduled for May 8.

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