“It wouldn’t be a playoff game if we weren’t trailing in the first inning,” said Oxford baseball coach Chris Palmer, who was recalling a conversation in the dugout early on in Tuesday’s state regional playoff win over Cooperstown.
In all seriousness, the Blackhawks might want to stick to a successful formula: Spot the winner of Keio Academy or East Rockaway a run or two.
As has been the pattern in all four Oxford playoff wins, it trailed in the contest early on, and the Blackhawks’ last loss – to Sidney in the Midstate Athletic Conference title game – they were the first team to put runs on the board. “We’ve been able to come back all season long,” Palmer said. “We have great leadership from the seniors, and the guys don’t lose their heads when they fall behind.”
Cooperstown was no slouch of an opponent, and Palmer held that team in great esteem noting it may be the best team left among the eight playoff teams across the state. Junior pitcher Phillip Pohl used a blazing fastball to overpower Oxford’s lineup early on. Pohl, who had four wins on the season, earned the starting nod over unbeaten Luke Banner, and was poised for win number five until Oxford’s second trip through the lineup.