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Still trying to tame Tattnall

Photo by Danny Aller

Photo by Danny Aller

ALBANY -- Maybe a change of scenery will do Deerfield-Windsor some good.

For the first time under head coach Rod Murray, the Knights will go on the road in the GISA Class AAA baseball playoffs after 11 consecutive postseason series at "The Bump" in Albany.

It's not that they haven't been good at home. It's all about this week's opponent. Tattnall Square Academy has eliminated DWS three consecutive years, and the Knights have gone 1-6 against the Trojans in the playoffs during that time. All those games were played in Albany.

"This is something new for us," Murray said Thursday during practice of his first career road playoff series at DWS. "I guess we'll try it a different way."

That's probably best because Tattnall always enjoyed its stay in Albany. The two teams meet today in the Final Four in Macon at 5 p.m. for Game 1. Game 2 will start at 2 p.m. on Saturday followed by Game 3, if necessary.

"I think we're all a little more pumped up than we usually are," DWS senior pitcher and slugger Chris Moates said. "We're all very excited."

Moates, who is 6-3 on the mound and will start Game 1 today, has already seen Tattnall this year. The Trojans (23-8) beat Deerfield (16-7), 6-0, in early April, dealing Moates his first loss of the year, although he allowed just one hit and walked three.

The Knights' bats were flat then, but they say that's changed. DWS has scored 48 runs in four games in the first two rounds of the playoffs, sweeping Bulloch Academy and Arlington Christian.

"They're going to see a different team (than the one Tattnall saw in its 6-0 win)," Moates said. "We've been killing the ball ever since."

Tattnall has won seven games in a row and 17 of its last 19. Starting pitcher Ryan Mosley threw complete-game wins, allowing one run in each, during both his playoff starts against Weber School in the first round and Tiftarea in the quarterfinals.

The Trojans' domination of Deerfield the past three years in the playoffs hasn't brought with it an intimidation factor, though.

"You can't be intimidated," Knights' senior Banks Kinslow said. "You'll end up getting your butt beat. (We) just know we've got to get focused and do the little things right because we know that's what they're going to do."

Apparently DWS believes those "little things" will make all the difference in this Final Four series.

"We didn't do the small things (in the regular season vs. Tattnall)," said senior Michael Laslie, who is hitting near .420 on the year. "They did the small things better than we did. We just didn't hit the ball like we normally do."

It may take a little more than normal to beat Tattnall on the road, but the Knights are just glad to have another shot at the Trojans.

"The only way you can get over the hump is to keep getting back to the hump," Murray said. "I guess it's a compliment to both teams that both are playing this late every single year."

The winner of the DWS-Tattnall series will face the Westfield-Stratford winner for the GISA Class AAA state title next week. As a No. 2 seed, the Knights will not host again unless they advance to the finals along with Stratford, another No. 2 seed in the visitor's half of the bracket.