RiverDawgs kick off playoffs against Dubois County Friday

July 30, 2021 | 12:03 am

Updated July 29, 2021 | 9:31 pm

Graphic by Owensboro Times

Finishing the regular season with a 22-22 overall record, the Owensboro RiverDawgs are set to take on the Dubois County Bombers in a three-game series in the first round of the playoffs.

The RiverDawgs have faced the Bombers six times this season, going 1-5 against them. Owensboro nearly pulled off a win in two of those five losses, but blew two ninth-inning leads.

That being said, RiverDawgs Head Coach Vic Evans expects high profile baseball amongst the two in the first round.

“I’m expecting close competitive baseball games…,” Evans said. “I think both teams have really good starting pitching at the top of the rotation and that kind of leads to playing close ballgames.”

Evans said they’ve been focusing on their offensive mindset going into the series, knowing that hitting with runners in scoring position has been a weak point for them all season.

“The most important thing going into this series for us is our situational hitting, which has been a weakness for us this year” Evans said. “We haven’t been really good with men at third base and less than two outs of getting him in. We’ve struck out too many times in that instance instead of getting a fly ball and driving them in or getting a ground ball to drive in the run.”

Evans and his staff have been stressing a clear mindset at the plate to the players, saying that they have to take control of the game and not leave it up to chance.

“It’s more of a mindset,” Evans said. “I think at times through the year where we get in those situations we try to umpire a little too much. We’ve gotta understand that once you get two strikes you can’t leave it up to the umpire. If it’s close enough for him to call, you have to find a way to put it in play and drive in a run.”

A strong point for the RiverDawgs has been their bullpen this season. With the best of the best getting action throughout the playoffs, Evans said their arsenal of starters need to give them some distance in order for the relievers to thrive.

“Our starting pitchers have gotta give us some length,” Evans said. “We feel like our bullpen has been really good all year, but our bullpen is really good when our starters can give us five or six innings.”

Along with their starters giving strong outings, Evans said that being consistent at the plate will be a key part of a winning formula.

The team has been focusing on that in late batting practice while also resting their bodies having played a massive amount of games this year.

“Other than the light workout of getting some bp in just so we’re keeping in rhythm at the plate, we’ve just asked them to take these two days and heal [up],” Evans said. “You get into this part of the year and everyone has got bumps and bruises… So we’ve just really taken these two days to get off of our feet and relax.”

In order to secure a series win and move on to the next round, Evans said that the team just has to focus on what they can control and that will lead them to some successful baseball.

“It’s been more about we need to do what we do well, it’s not about the other team,” Evans said. “If we do what we can do well, then we’ll be fine, no matter how well they play, we’ll be alright.”

The RiverDawgs will kick off the three-game series when they take on the Bombers at 6:30 p.m. at League Stadium.

July 30, 2021 | 12:03 am

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