The Big East Conference dropped its baseball tournament the past few years, but it will make a return beginning today.
In the past, there were concerns from coaches that a conference tournament held a few days before the state playoffs would force teams to overwork their pitching staffs.
Those concerns are still there, but nonetheless, there will be games this evening with the semifinals scheduled for Tuesday and the championship slated for Thursday.
“We had a meeting Saturday, and we’re not real fond of the tournament because it gets your pitching down before the playoffs,” Rocky Mount High coach Kent Cox said. “The beauty of this tournament is that you don’t play for another week. You have another week before you pitch to anyone else again.”
The top four seeds from the regular season have qualified for the playoffs, and the only way the fourth seed – currently Southern Nash – can be knocked out of the playoffs is if fifth-seeded Rocky Mount or No. 6 seed Wilson Fike wins the tournament.
The Gryphons visit Southern Nash at 7 tonight, while Wilson Fike travels to Northern Nash for a 7 p.m. start.
Rocky Mount has the most to gain of any local squad. The Gryphons dropped their last two regular-season games, falling from the third seed to No. 5.
“We’re disappointed we dropped the last two games when all we had to do was win one to get in the playoffs,” Cox said. “We went from three to five in the blink of an eye.”