What?: 3rd Round of the 5A Playoffs - Best-of-3 Series
Where?: Germantown High School (Game 1 & - if necessary - Game 3) & Edwin Moak Field @ OHS (Game 2)
When?: Game 1: Friday, May 9th @ 7:00, Game 2: Saturday, May 10th @ 7:00, Game 3: Monday, May 12th @ 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)
Probable starting rotation: Oxford - So. RHP Jason Barber (5-4, 1.56 ERA), So. RHP Houston Roth (11-0, 1.97), Jr. RHP Drew Phillips (3-1, 0.54). Germantown - Sr. Ross Buckley (5-1, 1.72), Jr. Peyton Johnson (4-1, 2.08), Jr. Connor McGraw (4-0, 2.77)
The Lowdown - Oxford can't rest now. Not after defeating Lewisburg last week.
Germantown is a slightly weaker opponent - slightly. The Mavericks also lost to Lewisburg in a run-rule this season. A loss that looks inexcusable they took this year is to an 8-16 Perry Central team this year. While they did go 9-0 in 3-5A and clearly looks to be the team from that region, Ridgeland is down, much further down where they got putout in the 1st Round series, Canton is much like Callaway is, and Neshoba Central isn't bad, but they are par for the course.
For their schedule, anyone that has been really good Germantown has been beaten. Jackson Prep (ranked in the Top 10 in Maxpreps), Northwest Rankin (ranked 2nd in the state), Clinton (top 15), Lewisburg (top 15). It wasn't by 1 run, all of those they lost by a solid number of runs. Their best win is just below the top 25 in Warren Central - who they have also lost to. They swept Saltillo to reach this series - but they had to earn those wins as Saltillo led in both of those games beyond the second inning.
That's something to watch - if Oxford gets ahead early like they did in the last two games against Lewisburg, the Chargers will stay ahead. Oxford's pitching staff and defense has been stepping up when they have a lead and made sure they don't relinquish it. They learned their lesson this year when they played Houston.
Germantown is a solid hitting club, hitting above .330 for the year. Real good for any team even if your entire schedule is halfway decent. Their offense is their reason why they are in this position. Pitching however isn't the best. Their top three guys maybe 13-2, but their ERA's are rather high and the runs the team has allowed if much further up there thanks to their defense. Oxford certainly has the pitching edge, and that is the type of edge needed to advance far into the playoffs.
This series might see some fireworks on the scoreboard this weekend.
For Oxford to win this series, they must: Continue to Pitch Well - Oxford's 1-2 Punch has gotten them this far, Barber and Roth need to continue their dominance.
No Freebies - No errors. Plain and simple. Oxford has yet to have an error free game since playing Tishomingo County back in February.
Hit, Hit, and Hit - Pitching with a lead is big. Especially with Barber, if Oxford can give their 1-2 some runs, they can ride their defense to North Half.
For Germantown to win this series, they must: Have Some Matches Ready - Because their bats need to stay hot. With Oxford clearly having the pitching edge, if they can string a few hits together, they will be able to keep up with Oxford.
Play Solid D - Meaning don't give any free outs to Oxford. The Mavs don't have a strikeout pitcher, so they must rely on their defense behind the pitcher.
Find Ways to Find Outs - it doesn't matter how. If Germantown can put up zeros, they will have their chances.
Weather: (For Madison, MS location) Game 1: At first pitch, Isolated Thunderstorms (30% chance), 70*F. Winds S 5-10 MPH.
Game 2: At first pitch, Mostly Cloudy (20% chance), 78*F, Winds very light.
Game 3 (if needed): At first pitch, 77*F, Partly Cloudy (no chance of rain), Winds light.
Other Notes: OHS alum Brent Brownlee is an assistant coach for Germantown. This is Oxford's first ever meeting in any of the "Big 3" sports against Germantown.