Photo by Derrick Mahone
Mundy's Mill senior catcher Robert Bell (left) and coach Patrick Smith participate in some infield drills during a recent practice. Mundy's Mill will travel to Lovejoy today for a key Region 4-AAAA game.
The word around Mundy's Mill practice Monday was focus.
It was something that the fifth-ranked Tigers failed to do in Saturday's 15-3 loss to unranked Redan on the road. Tigers coach Patrick Smith said his team let a third inning letdown snowball into the route that ended in five innings.
"We lost some mental focus," Smith said Monday. "Our intensity wasn't there for a game of this magnitude. Things sort of snowballed after we had one bad inning."
Smith is hopeful his team has worked out the kinks as the Tigers travel to Lovejoy today for a Region 4-AAAA game.
"That game (Redan) showed us that we got to stay focused, and we can't lose our concentration," Smith said. "We have got to play better against the better teams. I think this was our wake-up call."
Today will be the fourth time the team will attempt to play. The previous two meetings were postponed because of inclement weather. Mundy's Mill is 13-2 overall and 10-0 in the region while Lovejoy is 13-4 and 8-3 with region losses to Tri-Cities, Riverdale and Creekside.
The Tigers have won the last eight games dating back to 2008, but Smith said it is not any indication of how today's game will go.
"We you lose a game like we did Saturday, it tends to get your players attention," Smith said. "We had a real good practice on Monday. This game is much more than just a ready game, it is about pride. There are some community bragging rights on the line. I know our team will be ready."
This is a big week for Lovejoy, which is battling Mundy's Mill, Jonesboro and Creekside for the top two playoff spots from the region. The top
two teams will get to host at least the first round of the playoffs.
"We are all in the same boat," Craig Chatman said. "It would be an understatement to say that this Mundy's Mill game is big. They have kicked our butts the past few years that we have played. It is always a fun game, but they are solid throughout their roster."
Chatman, a Lovejoy graduate, was still trying to decide on the starting pitcher for today and Wednesday's game.
"I got an idea with three guys," he said. "They all know it is a possibility that they could start (against Mundy's Mill). I'm looking at some options because we have to back-to-back important games."
Smith said he will throw junior Corey Harmon, who is 2-0 on the season. Mundy's Mill will play Mount Zion on Wednesday and close out the week with a matchup against Jonesboro Friday.
The Redan loss was the first against an in-state team this season for Mundy's Mill, whose only other loss came against Carver of Montgomery, Ala. It snapped a 15-game winning streak against in-state competition dating back to last April.
"I know the team has put that Redan loss behind them," Smith said.
"We are now focused on doing the little things right."
Both Lovejoy and Mundy's Mill are pretty similar in statistics. The Wildcats are averaging 10.4 runs per game while Mundy's Mill is scoring at an average of 10.8 runs a contest.
Lovejoy is not a power team as its two home runs in 17 games shows, but the team has a .360 batting average.
"Our guys play real hard, and we hit the ball pretty decent," Chatman said. "Our guys appear to be real focus. We are hoping to finally get this game in."