DUBOIS — The Rossiter Miners will have a chance at revenge as they begin the Federation League Championships against the DuBois Rockets at 6 p.m. tonight at Showers Field in DuBois.
The Miners fell to the Rockets in Game 7 of the 2010 championships, and both teams are looking for a good challenge this year.
"It's going to be a good series," Rossiter manager Rick Matthews said following Sunday's series-winner over the Brookville Grays. "DuBois got the best of us in the regular season. ... Our pitching has to step up big against them, and we need to hit the ball on their pitching, too."
DuBois manager Brad Clinton agrees that the series is going to be a heated one.
Clinton's team finished first place in the Federation League and lost only five games throughout the regular season. This will give DuBois home-field advantage throughout the championship series.
"I think both teams are really equally matched; it's going to be who shows up to play ball on the field," Clinton said. "Both teams are really competitive. ... I have nothing but the utmost respect for the Miners; they're a team that plays well together. ... It's going to be a very competitive series."
The DuBois Rockets beat the Skykesville Senators Saturday in Game 5 of their semi-final matchup, meaning DuBois has had an extra day of rest.
The Brookville Grays forced the Miners to a six-game series, pushing the final game of the matchup to Sunday.
Clinton hopes that the extra day of rest will help his team, especially given the high temperatures and recent humidity. Clinton did not schedule an organized practice for Sunday or Monday, but said he thought some of his players would go to the batting cages on their own.
Clinton's biggest worry for the championship series is the base running.
The Rockets hit well during their series with Sykesville, recording 48 total hits. But Clinton's concern rested in leaving batters stranded.
"We've left a lot of people on base, hitting-wise," Clinton said. "Even though we're getting a lot of hits, we need to turn those into runs."
Pitching was a bit of a struggle for the Miners throughout their semi-final round, but they seemed to find a groove after the first few games. Matthews said he has been saving Christian Muth, one of the younger team members, to pitch against DuBois.
Muth has pitched six games for Rossiter this season, including Game 4 against Brookville. Muth has not pitched against the Rockets this season.
Clinton said one of his worries for the series was the Miners' pitching abilities.
"We know they don't make a lot of mistakes, and they have great pitching," Clinton said. "I think with their pitching, we're going to have our hands full."
Clinton said his team's pitching is also ready for the title match.
"We have a good rotation, and everyone is healthy, which is good," he said, but he would not give out any specific plans.
Rossiter does have one definite advantage over DuBois — their fans.
"The Miners have the best of the best in terms of fan support," Clinton said. "They're just your typical, old-fashioned, support-your-ball-club fans. ... They're good for baseball. I wish more fans had the enthusiasm that they do for their ball club, because they really do support it. And that will make a difference on their home field because you're battling against that."
Matthews made it a point to show his appreciation for the Miners fans, who came out in full-force throughout the series against Brookville.
"I just wanted to thank our fans for showing up," he said. "Our fans just help so much, and we appreciate that."
Matthews said he and his ball club are going to do all that is necessary to bring home the title for the fan base of Rossiter.
"We haven't won it in 19 years; we're hungry and so are the fans," Matthews said. "They want it worse than we do. We have so much respect for them, and we want to bring it home, so this is the year, hopefully."
Matthews does not plan to change much for the championship series. He said he thinks the team has found their groove and wants them to keep on that same path.
"(We need to) just do what we've been doing these last two games," he said. "Just put the ball in play, and make things happen. That's all you have to do, and I think they know it."