LEWISTOWN - Mifflin County may not have won its April 23 meeting with Central Mountain, but the Huskies definitely got something that could prove to be much more valuable.
Sophomore Peyton Reesman started that game for the Huskies and struck out nine Central Mountain batters, but struggled with his command a bit.
Reesman walked three, hit another batter and was charged with a wild pitch and his slider got past catcher John Michael Maclay twice for a passed ball.
But despite Reesman's struggles, that game revealed that the Wildcats had some trouble with his hard fastball that tops out in the high 80s.
Due to seeing that, Mifflin County coach Travis Zook will be leaning on talented sophomore Isaiah Kearns who features the same tough fastball, but usually has a bit more control of it.
"You have to take it in the game," Zook said. "What do we think is going to be the most effective option to go with? Isaiah has played a lot of baseball. (Heath) Hidlay has the best numbers as far as pitchers go and we were leaning toward him. At the last coaches' meeting, we were reviewing the last game and the batters and they seem to struggle with pitchers who throw an above mid-80s fastball, which Isaiah does."
The other option for the Huskies was senior Hidlay, who has the most experienced of the three and has the best statistics of the three. Zook also mentioned that Hilday would be the next guy to see action if Kearns needed to be relieved.
"Heath is below mid-80s, and I think Heath would also be effective," Zook said. "I think it's a no-lose situation. I think Isaiah or Heath would do a fantastic job."
The last meeting between the two teams saw the Huskies make a season-high seven errors, something that Zook definitely sees as a key to playoff success.
"We had (seven) errors in that game and a bunch of walks and we lost 6-1," Zook said. "As long as our defense is solid, I think Isaiah and Heath are going to be great on the mound. I think as long as we can put a couple runs on the board, I'm pretty confident."
Central Mountain started junior Caleb Seyler in the last meeting and Zook expects to see him again this time around.
Seyler is 2-0 with a 1.83 ERA, 1.35 WHIP, 22 strikeouts, and two complete games over 23 innings of work on the season.
Opposing hitters have hit .239 against him on the season.
In the last meeting, Seyler scattered nine hits over seven innings and gave up a lone third-inning run.
Maclay had the best performance of any Husky hitter, going 3-for-4 including bashing a first-inning double, one of the three extra-base hits Seyler has given up this year.
"We did struggle a little bit (last time)," Zook said. "Our bats were a little rocky to begin at the beginning of the year. I think we've really broken out of that, so I don't see a problem hitting him.
"The biggest thing is to be disciplined at the plate," Zook added. "He's going to be around the strike zone, so we have to be prepared for that. We've also got to be hitting good pitches and we're not chasing pitches in the dirt. When we get guys on base whether it's by a walk or a hit, we've got to be ready to advance him. Base running and small ball is going to play a role if the game's close."
The biggest key for Zook in the playoffs is something that has cost his team a few times this season - its defense.
"I think the biggest key is solid defense," Zook said. "I think our hitting will be there. As long as we are able to play defense to our ability and minimize errors and mistakes, I think that's our key right now. I think our achilles heel this year has been on the defensive end."
Mifflin County (11-9) will host Central Mountain at 4 p.m. today at Mifflin County High School.