CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Shortly after South Charleston eliminated rival George Washington from the baseball postseason on Friday, the Black Eagles set their sights on today's matchup with Riverside.
The Class AAA Region 3 semifinal set for 6:30 p.m. at Bryan-McIlwain Field offered the Warriors an opportunity to rest more than a week after getting through Capital and Ripley in the Section 4 tournament.
Riverside (12-15) will send Tyler Hall to the mound, as if the Warriors needed yet another advantage.
"Outside of (Elijah) Wellman down at Spring Valley, he's probably one of the top two or three pitchers in the state," South Charleston Coach Kenny Samms said. "He's smart, he beats the strike zone and has a good little breaking pitch and he doesn't walk people."
Hall has a 4-3 record with 70 strikeouts and only 14 walks in 53 2/3 innings. His earned run average is a deceptively high 2.35. Hall also has two games in which he finished with 12 strikeouts - against Beckley and Winfield, both of which are sectional champions.
The key, Samms said, is to work on the pitch count of Riverside's star.
"We have to make him throw strikes and hopefully we can put the ball in play and make them make some plays," he said.
South Charleston (16-13) hopes to counter with Jerod Jobst, but the Black Eagles' ace threw on Friday in the Section 3 championship less than three days ago and might not be ready.
That could put the Black Eagles in quite a fix, considering after Jobst its pitching staff includes a pair of freshmen.
"They (Riverside) have a (Arik) Sikula, we don't," said Samms, referring to his star player in 2006 who helped lead the Black Eagles to the Class AAA state title. "They've got a horse right there. I wish I had a horse."
That's where the strategy comes in for the Black Eagles, who expect Hall to be around the strike zone, but want to use their pitches wisely.
"You have to have a plan," Samms said. "He beats the strike zone. One way to get his pitch count up, you can't be first-pitch swinging. You have to have a game plan."
The winner of this game moves to Wednesday's 6:30 p.m. Region 3 championship when it will visit the winner of the other semifinal between Princeton and Beckley.
* * *
WINFIELD WILL have its hands full against Logan (20-9) today when the two square off in the Region 4 semifinal at 6:30 p.m. at Winfield.