By Anthony Rhoads
Eagle's Landing Christian Academy Chargers are making believers in their baseball team, including themselves.
The young squad, in its first season in the GHSA, is going to the Class A quarterfinals and will take on Schley County Tuesday and Wednesday. Tuesday's doubleheader begins at 5 p.m. and if needed, game 3 will be at 11 a.m.
"I'm still a little shellshocked by it all," Shadowens said.
"When we say nobody gave us a chance to be here that included us. We all believe now. We're all on board; we all believe we can win a state championship. They are starting to grasp the fact that they can play with anybody."
Schley County (26-3) is the No. 1-ranked team in single-A.
A youth will lead: One of the biggest surprises in the Temple series was the play of freshman second baseman Joey Hart, who had been called up from the junior varsity.
He had two hits in game 2 and played solid defense in both games.
"He's outstanding," Shadowens said. "He stepped in and did a good job for us. He's a microcosm of our season - when someone is called up, they deliver."
Battery mates: Christian White and Brian Moss are in an unusual situation with starting catcher Doug Campbell out with a deep thigh bruise.
White and Moss, who pitch, caught for each other in the Temple series. In game 1, Moss started on the mound with White behind the plate. Moss hurled a shutout against a high-powered Temple offense as ELCA won 1-0.
In game 2, White pitched with Moss catching for a 9-3 ELCA victory.
"Each guy has risen to the occasion," Shadowens said. "These guys definitely help us."
More than exceeding expectations: Going into the season, Shadowens just hoped his team could be competitive and maybe sneak into the state playoffs but they have more than exceeded those early expectations.
"I am amazed," Shadowens said. "You can't see heart; you can't see determination. I love this team to death. Every guy believes; everybody's all aboard. I'm amazed that they have gotten this done. I don't want to pinch myself; I don't want to wake up because you never knew, we may never have this chance again. It's a testament to what hard work and determination can do."