April 29, 2010 8:48:00 AM
South Lamar High School baseball coach Lane Wright has seen his team peak at the right time of the season.
South Lamar is just 11-17, but has advanced to the third round of the Alabama High School Athletic Association Class A playoffs by sweeping the first two rounds.
The Stallions are preparing to host Shoals Christian (18-23) in Millport, Ala., after handling Berry 11-1 and 10-0 in the second round and pounding Parkway Christian 11-1 and 17-0 in the opening round.
"It''s all coming together at the right time," Wright said. "That''s what you want. You want to peak at the end of the year, and we''re doing that."
South Lamar and Shoals Christian are scheduled to play at 4 and 6:30 p.m. Friday, with an if necessary game at 1 p.m. Saturday.
Wright hasn''t decided on Game 1 and Game 2 starting pitchers, but is considering Brad McCool, Trent Wilson, and Ryan Jaynes.
Wilson went the distance to beat Berry on Monday in the second game of the series. He allowed only four hits and struck out six. He helped his cause with a triple, double, single, and three RBIs.
"We''re playing pretty good baseball," Wright said. "The last five games or so we''ve played pretty well. We''ve made only one error in the last five games. The pitchers are throwing strikes. We''re hitting the baseball one through nine. Everybody is hitting the ball well. We''re just playing solid baseball right now."
The Stallions are playing the way Wright believed they could all season.
"The main thing is just playing defense," Wright said. "We didn''t play defense (during the regular season) like we have in the playoffs. We''ve only made one error in the last five games. We''re just playing ball. We''re making all the routine plays. (Monday against Berry) we had a couple of spectacular plays you don''t expect to make.
"I knew the kids, if they''d come together and work with each other, could make a little run in the third and fourth rounds. We played teams all year long that are better than any teams we''re going to see in the playoffs. We''re not going to see anything in the playoffs we haven''t already seen."
South Lamar will host its third consecutive round in the playoffs and could play at home all the way through the North State championship series.
Shoals Christian has made it the third round by pounding Phillips 26-0 and 13-2 and beating Decatur Heritage in three games.
"They hit the ball real well," Wright said. "They''re disciplined as far as hitting wise. They don''t hit the ball out of the park a whole lot or anything like that, but they''re disciplined. They stay back and hit the ball to all parts of the field.
"Their pitchers are not anything spectacular. They throw strikes and keep you off balance. They''re a solid little team."
The winner of the series will play for the North State championship against the winner of Athens Bible-Cedar Bluff series.