The top-seeded and fourth-ranked Lady Lions (26-7) play host to the Lady Trojans (17-14-1) in a 4 p.m. second-round Class AAA state playoff doubleheader today, where Central coach Jimmy LeBlanc said the key will be keeping Peach County’s burners off the basepaths.
“They have a lot of speed and athleticism. You know, any team that’s reached the sweet 16, they’re going to be good,” LeBlanc said. “They have some quality wins. So we’ve got to be ready to deal with their speed.”
Central enters today’s double-dip winners of eight straight, including an opening-round playoff sweep of Brantley County last week.
Third-seeded Peach County out of Region 2 overcame a Game 1 loss to Swainsboro in the opening round before bouncing back with 11-3 and 14-3 victories.
The Lady Trojans have come a long way under first-year coach Jay Barker, who inherited a winless program from a season ago and turned things around to a 17-win season thus far.
“From all accounts, he’s done a good job with them. Obviously, he’s turned them around. They’ve won 17 games, so he must be doing a pretty good job. Everybody I’ve talked to has said that,” LeBlanc said.
Peach County has a roster that is very similar Central, as it features two seniors, two juniors and the rest are underclassmen.
“It’s amazing. That’s what we were looking at [Tuesday]. It’s hard to believe. He we are set with so many young folks and to be sitting where we are, it’s just quality any way you look at it. You’ve just got to be ready for anything,” LeBlanc said.
LeBlanc said it would be great for his young players to experience Columbus this year and he notes how it would be the icing on the cake for his two seniors — Shena Chambers and Alison Jiles.
“It’s what everybody plays for is to get to that point. Then it’s a double-elimination tournament after that. Especially with us being as young as we are, for them to be able to experience that and get there, that would be great. I think for our seniors to be able to have an opportunity to get there would make it real special, as well,” LeBlanc said.