Christian Heritage School might be the only softball team left standing in the area this season, but its players aren't going to let that faze them.
The Lady Lions travel to Monroe to take on George Walton today for a second-round best-of-three series in the Class A-Private playoffs. The first game of today's doubleheader begins at 2 p.m. with the second game immediately following. The deciding game, if necessary, is on Thursday afternoon.
Despite a No. 3 seed for George Walton in the playoffs, Christian Heritage coach Mike Leonard has his team believing that it's just as worthy of being in the Sweet 16 -- the school's fifth trip in a row.
"Why would be scared?" Leonard said. "One thing you're going to get in Class A-Private is really sound teams, and we know that. We just need to relax and have fun -- do what we've tried to instill in them and play ball. That's it."
Though Leonard said he knows what he's getting into, that doesn't mean he lacks a plan. The Lady Lions, who are the No. 14 seed, must be disciplined at the plate, he said, to make sure they are able to string together hits when they need them most.
The team has leaned on its strong defense and No. 1 pitcher Tatiana Chiesa throughout the season, and with that, senior MacKenzie Hoffman said the offense should glide right along.
"These last couple of games, we've started hitting a lot better," she said. "I think as long as we keep it going we'll be fine and will be what ends up changing the game. I mean, our defense usually stays pretty good and Tati's pitching has been good from the very beginning."
Keeping Chiesa healthy will be a big factor, Leonard said.
"We've got to sort of figure out how we will manage her in a series back-to-back," he said. "Hopefully she'll be strong enough to go both games."
For Chiesa, she simply just has to do her job.
"It doesn't really make me nervous, because if it does then it might mess me up," she said. "I'll just have to be really focused and zoned in tomorrow."
Focused seems to be a common theme since it's now win or go home.
"We've played top-level teams before," senior Tessa Hawkins said. "I don't see why we would let our nerves get to us."