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Sectional showdowns: Charleston, Malden both in unfamiliar territory

Sunday, May 22, 2011

sports@standard-democrat.com

MALDEN -- Fresh off of their first district championship in school history, the Charleston Bluejays will have little time to celebrate as they gear up for their next challenge in the Class 2, Sectional 1 bout scheduled for Monday.

Left standing in their way will be the Malden Green Wave, who defeated Twin Rivers 4-2 on Wednesday in the District 1 finals.

"From what I've heard about Malden they're a good team and they're playing well right now," Charleston senior James Naile said following their thrilling 2-1 win over Bloomfield Thursday. "We're going to be back here to practice Friday and Sunday and we'll be doing what we can to get ready for them."

Malden (20-6) is also coming off a long district title drought, but was able to snare their first since 1980.

"You have two teams that haven't been to the playoffs in a long time," Charleston head coach Michael Minner said. "It will be a great experience for our kids and their kids. I'm not sure about them, but I know we've never been to the quarterfinals.

"But, one team is going to go and get a chance to play for state. That's pretty special for both of our programs."

Led by a plethora of heavy hitters, the Green Wave have the ability to put up runs in bunches. According to mshsaa.org, the Green Wave have scored over 10 runs nearly 10 times this season.

"They're a tough team," Charleston senior Ethan Browning said. "We've heard a lot about them. We're just going to come out play our game and hopefully we come out on top of that one."

The Green Wave have been led by sophomore sensation Tanner Murphy.

Murphy, who is a threat on the mound, in the batter's box or his normal position as catcher behind home plate, pitched a complete game win over Twin Rivers Wednesday, striking out nine and allowing just four hits.

He also added a solo home run against Twin Rivers.

The Charleston-Malden game is scheduled to start at 4 p.m. on Monday at Malden.

"We hope everybody takes off work Monday," Minner said. "We would love to see an incredible fan base from Charleston and support what's going on.

"Hopefully, we can pull out a victory and if we do we might get a chance to play a home game with the state tournament riding on it."