Berwick Panthers opens the playoffs at No. 14 Jennings
By GEOFF STOUTE
As his squad enters the playoffs as the No. 19 seed, Berwick coach Mike Thomas said Wednesday that he is still looking for his squad to put together a complete game for the season.
When they do, the Berwick skipper said his Panthers may be able to make a run in the Class 3A playoffs.
The Panthers will get their opportunity Friday when they open playoff action at No. 14 seed Jennings at 5:30 p.m.
“If we play a complete baseball game … we’re going to be OK,” Thomas said. “It don’t matter what Jennings does.”
The Panthers, who looked as if they were starting to find some consistency again like they had during the early season after five straight wins, suffered a setback in the season finale when they fell to Hanson Memorial, 4-3, Monday night in a game in which Hanson plated the winning run in the bottom of the seventh inning.
While the Panthers got good pitching, Thomas said it was two costly errors that Hanson scored runs on that hurt them.
Errors have been something the Panthers have struggled with, but Thomas said the errors don’t bother him because he said he knows what his squad can do if they execute plays the way they do in practice and in pregame warm-ups.
“The errors don’t concern me,” he said. “What concerns me is us going through a whole season and not playing up to our capability.”
Thomas said the team’s best game this year was its season-opening win against Vandebilt Catholic, a team that reached the 20-win plateau this season.
As for Jennings, the Berwick skipper said they are an “average” hitting team and feature a right-handed pitcher that has gotten some looks from smaller colleges. He said the Jennings pitcher can reach 84 to 88 mph.
“Right now they’re 16-12, so obviously they’ve done something right because they have 16 wins.”
Thomas said he hasn’t decided who will get the start for the Panthers, but he said he would choose from Brannon Melancon, Nick Duthu or Tim Shelby.
While Melancon and Duthu were expected to be key contributors this year, Shelby has worked his way into the upper echelon of Berwick pitchers.
“Right now Tim Shelby, every opportunity he’s gotten for us, whether it’s been a relief, whether it’s been a start … he’s made the best of it. … He’s kept us in a bunch of games,” Thomas said. “He’s won some games that we would not have won if he would not have come in and done what he did.”
Admission to Friday’s contest, which will be held at Jennings High School, will be $6. Those ages 5 and under will be admitted free.