Playoffs begin at ELCA

By Doug Gorman

While most high school baseball teams are still jockeying for playoff positioning, the post-season has already arrived for the Eagle's Landing Christian Academy Chargers.

Eagle's Landing opens the Georgia Independent School Association playoffs today against Westminster from Augusta at home in a doubleheader to start the best-of-three series.

The first pitch is set for 1 p.m. Should a third game be necessary, the two teams would return to the Eagle's Landing campus on Wednesday for a 4 p.m. start.

Eagle's Landing (11-6-1) earned the second seed out of its region even though it shared a co-region championship with Riverside. Westminster enters the best-of-three series as a No. 3 seed.

"We don't know a whole lot about them, but we have been able to get some pretty decent scouting reports from schools in their region," said Eagle's Landing head coach Joe Shadowens.

Westminster comes into the series with a college-bound pitcher who throws in the low 80s and has a biting curveball. They also have an all-star catcher and some quality hitting in first half of the their lineup.

Eagle's Landing is trying to duplicate last year's success. A year ago, the Chargers advanced to the GISA Final Four.

"I think that experience will help us," Shadowens said. "We have to play fundamental baseball and produce some runs."

Sophomore pitcher Cole Springer (5-3) will get the ball for ELCA in the first game of today's doubleheader. Shadowens will decided after game one whether to give the ball to Kris Yasinksi or Russ Cooper in the second game.

In addition to pitching, Eagle's Landing will need quality hitting. Chris Carver, Donnie Menezes, and Kyle Pope have been among the leading hitters for the Chargers.

Carver is exciting about returning to the playoffs, but knows post-season experience will only take the team so far.

"The experience helps, but we still have to play our game," he said.

Springer is anxious to take the mound to get the playoffs started.

"We don't know a whole lot about them, so we really don't what to expect," he said.

According to Pope, the first-round series is going to come down to basic baseball.

"We are going to have to have timely hitting, and play good defense," he said.

Menezes is said he is looking forward to a playoff atmosphere. School is being dismissed early for the Eagle's Landing student body so students can attend the game.