Derrick Mahone/Douglas County Sentinel Douglas County junior is hitting .367 and has a 3-1 record witha 0.78 ERA heading into Monday's region game against New Manchester.

With Douglas County and New Manchester both throwing their ace pitchers in Monday’s Region 5-AAAAAA game, both coaches are expecting nothing less than a pitcher’s duel.

Douglas County defeated the Jaguars 12-1 in Friday’s opener at the North Douglas Athletic Complex. Monday’s series final will be at New Manchester, where the Jaguars have been almost unbeatable in a turnaround season.

Junior Parker Ball will get the start for the Tigers while junior Josh Johnson will be New Manchester’s starter.

The first pitch is scheduled for 5:55 p.m.

“We are going to see their best pitcher, and we are going with ours,” Douglas County coach John Farmer said. “Our guys know they will get us their best and a quality outing. We expect nothing less than the best from our guys. We expect him to come out and battle for them.”

With Friday’s win, Douglas County improved to 6-4 and 1-0 in the region while the Jaguars dropped to 4-5 and 2-1.

New Manchester has struggled on the road this season with only road victory coming on last Thursday against Tri-Cities. The Tigers are 3-3 on the road so far this season.

“We feel good about our chances when we have an evenly talented team,” New Manchester coach Ian Chisolm said. “We didn’t really pitch as good in the first game. Our kids have a lot of confidence playing at home. We know it is going to be a pitching duel with probably a low-scoring game.”

Since returning from a shoulder injury earlier in the year, Ball has been dominate for the Tigers.

In four starts, the 6-foot-3, 260-pound lefty is 3-1 with a 0.78 ERA. He is also having a solid year at the plate with a .367 batting average.

“He is rolling right now,” Farmer said. “He is playing with a lot of confidence and the our players have a lot of confident in him. He has that swagger back and it makes us a better team when he is on the mound.”

And the same can be said about Johnson.

Johnson has been the ace of the staff and has been a part of two no-hitters this season. He had a no-hitter on Monday in the Jaguars 4-0 win over Tri-Cities.

He combined with Warren Taylor for a 11-0 win and no-hitter against Banneker.

“I think we have a lot of good chemistry, and the guys are trusting each other,” Chisolm said. “He (Johnson) is a very confident player and the team follows that suit.”

Following Monday’s series, New Manchester will take on defending region champion Alexander in a two game series starting Wednesday at home. Douglas County will open a series against Mays on Wednesday at home at the North Douglas Athletic Complex.

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