Every game is the most important game.
Such is the reality for Rosewood High School’s varsity baseball team, which starts its quest for the N.C. High School Athletic Association 1-A state title tonight versus Perquimans.
Rosewood and Perquimans last met in the third round of the 2014 NCHSAA 1-A state playoffs. Those Eagles, who beat the Pirates 4-2 in a nine-inning thriller, would go on to lose to Whiteville in the state championship series.
Heading into tonight’s matchup, Rosewood has won six games in a row and 11 of its past 12 games. The Eagles have not played a game in eight days, but Rosewood head coach Jason King said he isn’t worried about the pressure his squad is facing.
“More than anything, it’s a bigger challenge from a mental point,” King said. “Physically, it gives the team time to rest, which is a good thing, but constantly staying in competition mode is important, especially in the playoffs.
“It’d be foolish to say there isn’t pressure, but our guys are confident in what we can do as a team and what we’ve done. It’s just a matter of being focused mentally and being confident in our abilities as the game goes on.”
Rosewood (18-3 overall) is something Perquimans has yet to see this spring – a team that from top to bottom is dangerous. Whether it’s Logan Price or Tanner Capps hitting home runs, or Patrick Jones throwing a strike, Perquimans will not be able to rest for a second.
In a word, Rosewood is loaded.
Rosewood has amassed a team batting average of .406, with nine players hitting at least .300. The Eagles’ work inside the batter’s box includes 241 base hits, 208 RBI, 52 doubles and 17 triples and seven home runs this season. Further, there is the matter of on-base percentage, which, at .509, is the fifth highest in North Carolina and 95 points than Perquimans’ (14-8) on base percentage.
On the mound, the Eagles have a team ERA of 2.27. Jones and Will Harris have a combined 14-1 record and 95 strikeouts.
The Eagles will have to watch out for Perquimans’ Tyler Futrell, who has a .362 batting average and hit a team-leading three home runs.
“They’re a very good baseball team, and they’ve have played a quality schedule,” King said. “They’ve got some quality wins and played some tough opponents. It’s going to be a tough matchup, and we’re excited about it.”
First pitch is 6 p.m.