Chargers meet familiar face Friday night
Oxford won its lone state title in baseball nine seasons ago with a player who will be coaching against them in the next round of the 2014 MHSAA Class 5A playoffs.
Former Oxford High standout Brent Brownlee was a sophomore on the 2005 team won the 4A title over Petal. Brownlee is currently an assistant coach at Germantown, the opponent for the Chargers, starting Friday night at 7, in a game that can be heard locally on 95.5 FM
OHS coach Chris Baughman was as an assistant coach to Brian Harvey on that 2005 title team. Oxford has played against another former player, Cade Hoggard, before, but Baughman admitted it would be different to see Brownlee on the other side of the field during such an important series, rather than a game in the regular season.
“We played Cade (Hoggard) earlier this year and last year and it’s always fun. It’s always weird, but it’s always fun competing against them as coaches,” Baughman said. “It’s going to be fierce, but once the ballgame starts, he and I will forget about that. We’ll shake hands after the game. I’ll probably hug him. He is probably my most favorite kid I’ve ever coached and maybe the most talented I’ve ever coached. (Chad) Cregar is right up there and I have some talented kids on this team.
“He’s a great kid. He’s going to be an awesome head coach there or wherever he goes,” Baughman added. “They may be the best coached team we’ve played all year.”
Germantown (23-7 overall) won the Region 3-5A title this season and advanced to play the Chargers by sweeping Saltillo last weekend. Baughman said the Mavericks don’t make mistakes, or very few, because they are so well coached. The Mavericks can swing the bats pretty well. Their team batting average is .337.
“Their averages are out of the roof. They swing it well. Chance Cotton has hit five home runs already. (Ross) Buckley, their two-hole hitter, likes to take the ball the other way hard. Saltillo tried to over compensate for that and he hit won over 300 feet,” Baughman said. “They’re a great-hitting ball team. Our pitchers are going to be challenged. Their pitching does enough. They don’t have the dominant arms. I think our arms are better than theirs, but at the plate they are very good and they field the baseball extremely well. That’s the one area I think they’re better at than we are.”
Oxford (24-8) advanced to the matchup by defeating Lewisburg in three games. Baughman said he wants to see that same kind of effort again this week, and better, if possible.
“All we can do is play as well or better than we played this past weekend. There are things we could have done better. We should have kept a couple of errors off the board. Game 1, we left too many guys on,” Baughman said. “If we continue to play at a high level, somebody is going to have to play at a higher level to beat us and that’s all you can ask for at this time of the year. You want to somebody to be better than you at this time of the year and you not beat yourself.”