SEBRING – The Sebring Blue Streaks are ready to take on the Lemon Bay Manta Rays in the Class 4A-Region 3 quarterfinals tonight. The Blue Streaks are entering tonight’s game with a record of 18-8 while the Manta Rays’ record is 18-7.
“They (Lemon Bay) are an aggressive team on the bases, they are a small-ball team and try to put pressure on guys,” explained Sebring Coach Jasone DeWitt. “They are very energetic in the dugout so we will just have to play our game and not worry about what they are doing in their dugout. We have to play between the lines and not get caught up in the cheering and attitude they will bring over with them.”
Tonight will be the first time the Blue Streaks have faced the Manta Rays this season. Sebring has been hard at work practicing for this match-up.
“Practices have been hot,” joked DeWitt. “Practices have been going well. We have been playing one game at a time. This is just another game. They have played their whole life to get an opportunity to play high school baseball and to continue to play all season. We are fortunate to be one of a handful of teams that are still playing.
“They’ve been energetic, they have put in the work and it has been like regular season practices. We keep preaching to them ‘you can’t get caught up in anything the other team is doing, it is pitch to pitch and getting to the next guy.’ If we do that we should be ready to play. We are going to leave everything out there on the field. Our guys are ready, they are excited and I’m hoping we get a good crowd here to show support for these young men who have done it right in the classroom and on the field, to show their appreciation for all the hard work they put into it this year.”
Sebring’s starting pitcher has yet to be decided.
“The pitcher will be a game time decision but more than likely it will probably be Zach Doorlag,” said DeWitt. “We have him penciled in as our starter. We are deep enough on the bump to bring in whoever we want to if we feel like he (Doorlag) has given us everything he has. If that is the case we have seven other guys who will be ready to pitch who have gotten the minutes in this year that we will feel comfortable with. Our guys trust our defense, they hit their spots, pitching to contact and letting our defense play.”
The Blue Streaks aren’t going to fix what isn’t broken. Sebring will continue doing what has gotten them this far.
“We are trying not to get caught up in anyone else,” DeWitt added. “We can’t change what got us here, we are going to try any trick plays or do anything extra for a certain person on their side. We have a pretty good idea of what they like to do and I’m sure they have a good idea of what we like to do. We are going to continue what we have done on defense and offense but going in we always have a guy or two that we say ‘we are not going to let him beat us.’ We know in the back of our head if it is a crucial situation we will go after the next guy.”
Coach DeWitt is extremely proud of his team.
“I am so happy for this group,” Dewitt stated. “This is a great group of guys. They are student-athletes and they study the game. They come everyday and continued to improve every day. To see them cheer for each other and pick each other up, they have definitely become a family. It is great to see these guys get close. Our seniors have done a great job with our underclassmen. To have the mixture of guys that we have from top to bottom and that they all get along great and have all become a family, it means a lot and shows what type of character they have.”
Come out tonight to Firemen’s Field at 7 p.m. to cheer on the home team. The cost of admission per FHSAA is $7. No season passes are allowed.
“Come out and show support,” said DeWitt. “Allow these kids to play in front of a home crowd that is cheering them on. That would be great.”