The Mansfield Legacy and Mansfield Lake Ridge baseball teams are both fighting for a postseason berth, which makes their game Friday that much more intriguing.
Legacy defeated Lake Ridge by score of 5-4 on March 31, and Broncos coach Chris McMullen said he feels certain it will be another hard-fought contest.
“I expect another close, competitive game,” McMullen said. “The first time around, the lead went back and forth between both teams, and we were fortunate enough to come out on the right side with a walk-off hit by one of our seniors, Grant Moore. Lake Ridge is having a good season. They have some really good players and we are going to have to come out ready to play from the first pitch.”
Legacy was in third in the district standings with five games remaining last week, and McMullen said his team is competing at a high level as the postseason approaches.
“I like the way our team is playing,” McMullen said. “Every game is competitive. We have had some tough losses that could have gone either way. Two of our losses in district were decided by one run. It has made for competitive practices, because our guys know that each game is going to be tough. These types of games can be a great advantage to our team as you get later in the season and make that last push to get into playoffs.”
McMullen said that the fact that both Legacy and Lake Ridge are both competing for a playoff spot does add significance to this rivalry.
“Both teams are playing for the same goal,” McMullen said. “At this point in the season based on district records, nobody is a lock to get in the playoffs and nobody is a lock to be eliminated from the playoffs. Both sides will give everything they have, so it should make for another great game.”
For the Lake Ridge baseball team, the game with Legacy could be an opportunity to get into the playoffs.
The Eagles were in fifth place, just behind district rival Mansfield Timberview, heading into their remaining five games of the season last week.
Lake Ridge coach Greg Ross agreed with McMullen that the game with Legacy should be tough.
“I expect the next game to be a close one also,” Ross said. “Both teams are in the hunt for a playoff spot, so this next game will be an important win for both teams.”
With his eyes on a top-four finish in district, Ross said he, too, is feeling good about how his team is playing at this point.
“We are playing with confidence and we have some key players stepping up for us,” Ross said.
Ross also agreed that the fact that both teams are vying for a playoff spot makes this game pivotal.
“This next game is very important for both teams, because it could very well mean a playoff spot for the winner,” Ross said.
Legacy and Lake Ridge will play at 7 p.m. Friday at Lake Ridge High School.