With heavyweights like Southridge, Batesville and Silver Creek all in the pool, Memorial will be swimming with the sharks this weekend in the 3-A baseball regionals at Huntingburg. However, the Tigers have some bite too.
"We come into every game confident," said Memorial senior infielder/outfielder Jake Purdue.
"We have to be really confident," said Memorial senior pitcher/infielder Nick Coleman. "We have to play with that confidence on the field."
"We're pretty confident right now, said Memorial senior infielder/pitcher Dayton Lenning. "We feel we can beat about anybody."
Confidence is the watch word for this Memorial baseball team as they head into this weekend's regionals. Winners of 5-straight and 11 of their last 13, the Tigers have put a mid-season slide permanently in the rear-view mirror. One of the big keys has been at the plate, where they have not hit a home run all season, but feature six starters, all hitting above .300. The secret is aggressiveness and the ability to pounce on the opposition's mistakes.
"I think that's because we work on simple things every day," said Purdue. "Just like simple things that teams normally don't take advantage of. We really make sure we capitalize on that."
"Every week we come out here, whether it's here or at school," said Coleman. "Hitting fielding, taking ground balls, fly balls, anything like that. We always practice like we're in a game. We don't take any situation lightly. We always prepare for the games well."
"We work on a lot of drills, especially on the bases," said Memorial head coach Rip Collins. "If the ball's in the dirt, if we're doing what we're supposed to do, we should be able to take the next base. You've got be ready on every pitch and take advantage of any mistake made."
However, none of this would possible without the Tigers "odd couple" combination on the mound. Brash senior Nick Coleman and quiet but confident unassuming freshman Thomas Lynch have formed a 1-2 punch that is poised to bring Memorial a Regional crown.
"Nick, our senior, sophomore year, we noticed he was going to be pretty good," said Collins. "We didn't think he was going to be this good. He's a very dominant pitcher in this area, if not the state..Thomas Lynch, a freshman, we didn't know very much. He really signed up as a catcher."
"Thomas has just been great all year," said Coleman. "He's not played like a freshman at all, and it shows, and it shows because he's pitched in a sectional championship game."
We've got full faith in them on defense. Have all the faith in the World and confidence in them when they're pitching. They're just going to back us up every day and they come ready to play.
"To have two guys out there who can go out there," said Purdue, "be around the plate, throw strikes, throw to contact, that's important. Especially when you've got to win two games to move on."
And last but certainly not least is "Blue Cat Nation". Memorial travels with one of the loudest and loyalest fan bases in the State and no doubt they'll be their in force at Huntingburg's League Stadium on Saturday.
"It's pretty cool," said Coleman. "It's all based in tradition. It's been like that as long as I can remember. I remember I was going to games when I was younger."
"It's just so great to have a fan base to back us up," said Purdue. "I really think last year, missing a season, because we didn't get to see the team last year. It's just so great have those fans supporting us."