What?: 3rd Round of the 5A Playoffs - Best of 3
Where?: Germantown High School (Game 1 & - if necessary - Game 3) and Edwin Moak Field (Game 2)
When?: Game 1: Tuesday, May 5th @ 7:00, Game 2: Thursday, May 7th @ 6:00, Game 3: Friday, May 8th @ 7:00 (if necessary)
How can you keep up?: Bullseye 95.5 FM Radio, Bullseye955.com, @OxChargerSports Twitter Account, Baseball iScore Gamecast at this -> LINK <- (click on respective Oxford/Germantown Game with correct corresponding date and time of game to watch)
Keys: CL - Clarion-Ledger Baseball Poll, MP - Maxpreps Computer Poll, MPX - Maxpreps Xcellent Top 50 National Poll, BA - Baseball America National HS Poll, UST - USA Today National HS Poll, PG - Perfect Game HS Top 50. Ranking in 5A is from Maxpreps.
Probable starting rotation: Oxford - Jr. RHP Jason Barber (8-0, 0.00 ERA), Jr. RHP Houston Roth (7-0, 1.50), Sr. LHP Dalton Markle (5-0, 1.31). Germantown* - Sr. RHP Chance Cotton (8-0, 0.89), Sr. RHP Conner McGraw (5-0, 1.20), Jr. RHP Zach James (5-0, 2.34)
* - Note: Three decisions are missing on Germantown's stat sheet on Maxpreps (2 wins, 1 loss), so these stats could be inaccurate.
The Lowdown: This might be the hardest hurdle to jump for Oxford. Germantown is even more of a real deal than last year.
They are more improved than last year especially on the mound. The Mavericks sit on a 1.62 ERA as a staff where last year they knew they could barely pitch their way out of a paper bag. It was their offense last year that was pretty scary to watch. This year, the roles are flipped.
It has been their pitching and defense and just enough offense that the Mavericks have gotten by to get to their 25-3 record which is impressive in Baseball. Germantown has been in SEVEN extra-inning games including four that has gone 10 innings and that is where two of their three losses have come from. Their last extra-inning affair was just last game to clinch the series against Lake Cormorant. Only four of their players from last year had a plate appearance against Oxford.
The only bad news with that: Oxford has been in a lot of those situations and they haven't lost (obviously) in such situations this year.
Oxford has only been in two extra-inning games. They have won them both in eight innings and both times they were on the road. Oxford has won every game this year without allowing more than five runs all while batting above .330. The Mavericks have allowed at least 6 runs 6 times this season, albeit around half of those came in the extra inning contests they've been involved in.
Unlike last year where offensive fireworks were needed to win the series, this one more appears more as to who will make the fewest mistakes on defense or who will get the key hit for their team.
If anyone has an advantage, it would slightly go to Oxford. They have the better ERA (1.05 vs. 1.64) and the better batting average (.333 vs. .279). If Germantown has any advantage, it would be being battled tested over and over and over this season with all the close games and games where they have gone to extra innings. Oxford has rarely been tested all season, but they have prevailed in any tests they have come across. Those tests being at Cabot, against Lafayette, at West Point, and at New Hope (3rd Game) where Oxford was being threatened the most.
I will say this: Whoever wins this series deserves to win the 5A State Championship this year.
For Oxford to Win This Series, They Must: Continue the Pitching Domination - It keeps Oxford in games, and the reason the Chargers are undefeated. Barber has been close to unhittable this season. Roth will be Roth.
Play Smart Defense - The Mavericks have five players with double-digit stolen bases. As a team, Germantown has more than 100 steals on the year. Any base runners that do get on for Germantown they will try to cause havoc.
For Germantown to Win This Series, They Must: Match Oxford's Pitching - Oxford has yet to allow 6 or more runs in a game this season. The Mavs need to match the Chargers blow for blow until they can manufacture a run which they can do.
Make This A Three-Game Series - It is a tall order beating Barber AND Roth. Germantown would love a split, because they get Game 3 back at their place. That I have to believe is their best-case chance to upset Oxford.
For Game 2: Clear (no chance of rain), 77*F, winds from the S at 5-10 MPH (out to RF)
For Game 3: Mostly Clear (no chance of rain), 82*F, winds from the S at 5-10 MPH (out to LF)
Other Notes: Oxford swept the series in last year's playoffs, winning 8-7 and 7-6 in games 1 and 2 respectively, walking off in game 1 down 3 runs (Last year Oxford hosted Game 1 due to weather concerns.) and winning game 2 after going up 7-0. GHS assistant coach Brent Brownlee graduated from Oxford in 2007 and was part of the 2005 State Championship baseball team.