Meridian Star

Sports

May 6, 2014

Lady Cougars set to take on Lawrence in playoff matchup

DECATUR — After dispatching North Pike High School in two games, 14-4 and 14-4, the Newton County High School softball team now turns its sights to a South State tile, but first the Lady Cougars must get past Lawrence County High School in a best-of-three series set to begin Friday.

“I thought we played good in all three areas of the game,” Newton County coach Justin Chaney said. “We pitched the ball well, played good defense and came up with some timely hitting. They made a couple of mistakes, and we took advantage of that and made them pay for it.

“Overall, I thought it was a very good series for us.”

Newton County takes a 27-4 overall record into their series against Lawrence County, a record Chaney attributes to the load of experience it has on the roster.

The Lady Cougars start two seniors and five juniors.

“We’re an older team,” Chaney said. “We have a lot of experience. A bunch of these girls have been playing since the eighth grade with each other. That experience goes a long way.”

Due to that plethora of experience, NCHS remains relaxed and appears more than capable of withstanding any circumstances thrown its way.

“They aren’t surprised by anything,”Chaney said. “They have been in these situations before, so I think they know to handle all things.”

NCHS is going to rely heavily on that experience as it squares off against a Lawrence County squad that is ripe with talent.

“I know they are very athletic,” Chaney said. “They like to put a lot of pressure on you. They play really good defense, but this time of year, everybody is going to be good. They are here for a reason.”

Timely hitting and smart play will prove critical in determining the winner of the South State matchup.

“I think the key to this series is going to be who doesn’t make the mistakes, and who gets the two-out hits,” Chaney said. “That’s the name of the game in softball. Who can get the key hits.

“That’s what it’s going to come down to.”

And while a lengthy delay between games ó the Cougars last played Saturday, could prove as a detriment to someó Chaney sees it as a blessing for his squad.

“I think the rest is more of a big factor than anything,” Chaney said. “I think they are just mentally and physically tired right now, so I gave them (Monday) off. We’ll come back (today) and get back to work ... At this point, you have to just adapt to the layoffs.”

The Lady Cougars will travel to Lawrence County Friday and then return home Saturday for Game 2 and a Game 3, if necessary.

“We have to try and steal one down there, so it will be a lot easier when we come back here on Saturday.” Chaney said.

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