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Rockets look to be favorites in district tourney

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By Todd Martin

The Shelby County High School baseball team is currently riding a three-game losing streak, but that doesn't mean the Rockets won't be the top dogs in the 30th District Tournament.

Shelby County lost nine straight last season heading into the postseason, but went on to win the district and region tournaments before finishing the year as state runners-up.

This season, the Rockets have earned the No. 1 seed in the district tournament, beating Eminence 20-0 on March 24, topping Anderson County 3-0 on April 17 and beating Spencer County 11-0 on April 22. The Rockets also have a perfect 6-0 record in the region.

"I think you could say we're the favorites based on what we did last year and, obviously, we've performed well in the district and region this year," SCHS head coach Bart Roettger said.

Shelby County will face Eminence in the first round of the 30th District Tournament at Spencer County Monday, and Roettger said his team will have to be ready for every game this postseason.

"We're going to get everybody's best effort because of our success last year," he said. "The question is how will we handle it? Are we going to hit better, be more aggressive on the bases or pitch even better than we have this year? Our offense has so much room for improvement, that's where I expect to see our guys improve."

Being the favorite can add pressure, but Roettger said that doesn't worry him.

"Our guys are used to that pressure," he said. "Plus, with the schedule we've played this year, we should be ready for anything we see."

The Rockets are definitely used to playing with a bull's eye on their backs. Shelby County has won the district and the region the last two seasons.

Anderson County will face host Spencer County Tuesday in the second first-round game. While Anderson is no doubt the favorite -- because of an 18-2 five-inning win on May 1 -- Roettger said Spencer will be a tough out.

"(Spencer County) just got one of their better players back, and they beat a good North Oldham team 14-4 (Monday)," he said.

The Rockets' biggest advantage for both the district and the region, Roettger said, will come on the mound.

"We can run five or six different guys out on the mound that I have complete confidence in to get us a win," he said. "Other teams may only have two or three guys they feel can get them a win in any situation. I think our depth, our schedule and the number of close games we've been in will be a huge help for us. These guys have a lot of pride in themselves and in the program, so I know they'll be ready to play."