On paper, the PIAA Class A baseball semifinal between Southern Fulton and Lancaster County Christian should be a good one.
"Our stats are eerily similar," Indians coach Dustin Fischer said. "They're literally a couple points here and there apart."
He's not wrong. SF has a team batting average of .356, which includes 259 total hits, 42 doubles, three triples and 12 home runs. LCC is averaging .368 at the plate with 256 hits, 44 doubles, three triples and 11 homers. Both teams have drawn 107 walks.
The Lions have a team ERA of 1.16 with three pitchers under 2.00, and the Indians' team ERA is 1.20 with four players under 2.00.
Southern Fulton has allowed a total of 28 earned runs, LCC just 26, and the Lions' pitching staff has 57 walks compared to 205 strikeouts, while the Indians boast just 52 walks and 226 strikeouts.
Both teams have won more than 10 games in a row, and both were champions of their respective districts.
On Monday, Southern Fulton (24-2) and Lancaster County Christian (22-4) will travel to Northern York at 4 p.m. to determine whose statistics speak louder.
"I feel that we have played a much tougher schedule (LCC has played just a handful of teams with winning records), but I honestly think this is going to be the best matchup of the state tournament," Fischer said.
Lions first-year coach Chris Burns knows what he's up against.
"I think they're probably the best team in the tournament, and it's possible they would win the AA bracket as well," Burns said. "I look forward to the challenge."
Burns thinks so highly of Southern Fulton namely because of pitchers Trent Rider and Connor Litton.
Litton, who threw a five-inning no-hitter to open state playoffs, will be getting the nod for the Indians, according to Fischer. Litton has thrown 31 1/3 innings this season and has just a 0.45 ERA. He has allowed just 13 hits, eight runs, only two earned runs, 10 walks and 57 strikeouts.
"They're a great all-around team, but their strength is certainly their pitching," Burns said. "Rider and Litton are both top pitchers for them, and they're two or three of the best in the state in Class A, for sure, if not the two best."
Fischer said, "It's Connor's turn for the mound, and I have confidence in Connor pitching. He's a big-game player, and he wants the ball. He thrives in the big moments."
LCC's pitching staff is not one to shake your head at, though. Burns did not say who was getting the ball to start on Monday, but it will be down to Kyle Ebersole and Jensen King.
King is a senior with a 9-1 record and a 0.81 ERA in 52 innings. He has allowed a total of just 25 hits and has racked up 84 strikeouts. Ebersole is 8-2 and took the win in the Lions' District 3 Championship. The junior has a 1.29 ERA and has racked up 76 strikeouts, compared to just 11 walks.
"They are both going to be in good position to pitch," Burns said. "Everyone for both teams is going to be fresh and available, and that's what you want. We want to see them at their best, and I'm sure the same is true for them. That's what makes it fun."
Offensively, King leads with the Lions with a .475 batting average, while Chandler Petersheim is the team's heavy hitter. He is the Lions' leadoff batter and has an average of .430. He also leads the team with eight doubles, two triples and six home runs. Benjamin Glessner (.421) and Ebersole (.419) are also big offensive threats.
For Southern Fulton, Tristan Douglas leads the way with a batting average of .506, and both Rider and Litton are batting .438. Leadoff hitter Dylan Gordon has an average of .424 and is tied for second on the team with 39 hits.
"Honestly, we've made it this far by just doing what we've been doing," Fischer said. "If it ain't broke, don't fix it. I did see they tried bunting a lot the last game, so we've been working on bunt coverages more the past couple days, but mostly, we've been focusing on what we've been doing all year."
Burns said, "It's hard for either team to know exactly what to expect having never seen each other. I know we haven't seen any pitchers like what they've got this year, so a lot of it will be how quickly we adjust to that."
Both teams remain confident, but know it may come down to something simple.
"It's the little things that we want to be sure we have down pat," Fischer said. "We're down to the last four teams here. It could come down to one missed bunt coverage, one missed sign, one missed steal. We're focusing on all the little things."
With a first-ever trip to the state championship on the line for both teams, the pressure is certainly on.