Tough Division 2-5A opens play today

baseball_icon_greenBy David Wheeler

Special to the Journal

The Oxford Chargers and Saltillo Tigers are perennial contenders in baseball for the Division 2-5A title.

Oxford won the regular season honors in 2013.

And yet fellow 2-5A rival New Hope went on to win the Class 5A state championship.

Life is tough in 2-5A.

“This division is very competitive,” veteran Saltillo head coach Johnny Bolen said. “You have the defending 5A champion, you have the team that beat them in the division, and you have a very athletic West Point team.”

Saltillo, currently 7-6, made the playoffs as the division’s No. 3 seed a year ago. This season, the top of the batting order will make the Tigers go – senior outfielders A. J. Rye and Hunter Harlow.

“When those two guys get on, they set the table for us, and when they get on, there are things we can do.” Bolen said. “We had New Hope beat twice last year.

“You can’t make mistakes when you play those guys.”

Saltillo opens its 2-5A schedule today at West Point (7-3).

‘Killer’ division

“This division is a killer,” Oxford head coach Chris Baughman said. “Saltillo can beat anybody, West Point is athletic, and New Hope may be the second best team in the state.”

Oxford is currently 10-4, and features some up-and-coming pitching in sophomores Jason Barber (3-1) and Houston Roth (4-0).

“Our strength is on the mound,” Baughman said. “I like the way we’re playing, but you don’t want to peak too early.”

Oxford also opens its division schedule today, hosting New Hope (11-2).