SOCIAL CIRCLE, Ga. — How sweet it is to be playing in the second round.
No. 3 seed Social Circle advanced to the Sweet 16 with a first-round sweep of No. 2 seed Taylor County on Thursday. Now, second-year head coach Kevin Dawkins and his crew must take on the role of underdog once again this week as they travel to Macon for a best-of-three series with top-seeded ACE Charter.
The Redskins (17-14, 12-6 Region 8) will try to slow down a Gryphons (28-4, 11-1 Region 7) offense that has averaged more than 10 runs per game this spring. They’ll do so by throwing arms Jason Ball and Ty Lemaster, the duo who clamped down on Taylor County.
“We were very fortunate on Thursday only having to throw Jason and Ty,” Dawkins said. “We didn’t throw anybody or waste any other pitching. And even with those two guys, they stayed below the pitch limit because they were very effective with their pitches, were able to fill up the zone.”
ACE Charter earned a spot in the Sweet 16 with an opening-round sweep of its own. The club steamrolled Mt. Zion-Carrollton (11-3, 11-0) to advance while extending their win streak to 12 games.
The task will be daunting, but Social Circle understands that if it can find a way to execute in the same manner it did Thursday, it can compete with anyone. After all, they've advanced this far defying the odds with just two upperclassmen on the roster — why stop now?
Dawkins has adopted a phrase from a recent Freddie Freeman documentary and relayed it to his team over the past several weeks: “You didn’t come this far just to come this far.”
“Using that Freddie Freeman quote, it seems to be fitting for these guys and for this season,” Dawkins said. “I tell them you can’t worry about who’s on the other side of the field; that’s our job as coaches. As players, we just need you to go out and execute, play your game of baseball. Do the little things right and you’ll be rewarded for it.”
The series was scheduled to start Tuesday at 5 p.m., but inclement weather threatened to delay it. Should Tuesday's doubleheader get rained out, it would be made up on the next available day.
"We'll just keep continuing to move on and keep plugging," Dawkins said. "Hopefully we can get these games in [Tuesday.]