YORK -- Talk to York Comprehensive High School pitching ace Zac Fuesser and he will tell you he's emotionally-charged for tonight's home playoff opener against nonregion nemesis Gaffney.
The first-round playoff action begins at 7 p.m. on the YCHS diamond.
Fuesser, whose 90-plus mile an hour fastball has attracted major league scouts from across the country, was battling flu symptoms in an opening-season loss to Gaffney.
Said the hard-throwing lefty, "I didn't pitch well against them the first time but will be ready to go Thursday."
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YCHS head coach Scott Kiggans shares the excitement of his players.
"We're happy to be hosting Thursday's playoff game as region champions," said Kiggans, a former high school standout who pitched a no-hitter in a West Virginia high school playoff win that sent his team to the state title game.
"We accomplished our No. 1 goal," he said. "Our No. 2 goal is to advance in the playoffs."
Fuesser said the players are excited about the school's first region championship in baseball since 2003 when the Cougars won the 3A region title.
He said the Cougars need to break out of a batting slump to make a run.
"The coaches are pushing us to hit the ball better and we're working hard to make it happen," Fuesser said. "We need to hit the ball hard, play sound defense and I can't walk batters."
Responding to Friday's 1-0 loss to rival Clover, Kiggans said, "It was an exciting game in front of a big crowd. Both teams played hard and both pitchers did a good job."
Lady Cougars travel to Mauldin
The youth-oriented York Comprehensive High Lady Cougar softball team travels to Mauldin today to open the Class AAAA playoffs against one of the state's premier teams.
The first-round action is set for 6:30 p.m. at Mauldin High School.
"We're excited to be playing a team the caliber of Mauldin," head coach Nickie Templeton said of Thursday's opponent. "They are a team many feel is state championship-bound."
YCHS senior standouts Lauren Donald and Kayla Ramsey have seen the Lady Cougars grow as a contending team in the region.
"The key has been playing together and being supportive," Donald said. "One of the young players asked me for help recently and her game is changing. ...I can remember feeling nervous and stressful when I was younger."
Said Donald, "We're playing together and have the talent to win."
Ramsey said the Lady Cougars are having a tough year rebuilding but have begun to mesh together as a team.
"Our young players are learning what to do in key situations," she noted.
The YCHS girls closed the regular season with a 4-1 loss to rival Clover.
"We were unable to put together a string of hits," Templeton said. "There were some positives. We had some players step up in the seventh."