Thomas County Central returns to the baseball diamond on Thursday as region winners for the first time in two years.
The Jackets host Lee County on the heels of downing Bainbridge in a pair of doubleheader victories on Friday to notch their first 1-AAAAA wins since 2012.
Central coach Chad Parkerson said the six-day hiatus benefitted the team from a health standpoint during the late grind of the season.
“We’ve been riding our pitchers pretty hard, so an extra day or two [off], in my opinion, is a good thing to just kind of give them a little bit of a physical and mental break,” he said.
Speaking of, the coach will send the winning aces from Friday – sophomore Jonathan Robinson and senior Cooper Mayhall – to the mound again on Thursday to counter Lee’s offensive attack.
Robinson tossed seven strikeouts and allowed five hits during the first six innings of Game 1 before paving way for Cooper Mayhall to close. Mayhall re-assumed the mound for all of Game 2, and added nine strikeouts to his already strong stat sheet. The ABAC-bound senior currently leads the region with 54 strikeouts.
“I’m very proud of Cooper Mayhall,” Parkerson said after the Bainbridge win. “He’s put himself in position to be a No. 1 type pitcher. When he’s throwing strikes, he’s as good as anybody.”
Parkerson added that Central’s offense deserved just as much credit for last week’s success.
The coach said he shifted plate prepartion techniques, and that he’s seen turn-around.
“The at bat starts when the helmet goes on, not when we’re in the [batter’s] box,” he said. “You’ve got to prepare yourself mentally and have a plan at the plate.
“Sometimes your cleanup hitter is leading off an inning, and that guy has to accept responsibility as a leadoff guy. Sometimes you have to adjust to set the table for batters later.”