North Carroll first-year coach Rich Harvey knows all he needs to about the Damascus Hornets, whom his Panthers will face in the opening round of the regional softball playoffs.
The Hornets have knocked the Panthers out of the state playoffs the past two years.
With the regions realigned this year, the fourth-seeded Panthers (11-6) will get an earlier look at the top-seeded Hornets (13-3) when they travel to Damascus today in the Class 2A West Region semifinals.
"They've been the ones to knock us out the past two years. They're very solid and don't make too many mistakes," he said. "Damascus was the team I heard about from the start. We're going to have to put together a perfect game both offensively and defensively."
The Panthers won state titles in 1990 and 1991. Damascus ended their reign in 1992 with a 3-1 victory in the state semifinals and went on to win the state title. Last year, the Hornets defeated the Panthers in the state semifinals before losing in the finals to North East of Cecil County.
"North Carroll has traditionally been a scrappy team that never lets down and just doesn't quit, we know that," said Damascus coach Barb King. "And then, there's the revenge thing where we've knocked them out of states the past two years -- it's not going to be easy, but none of them are."
The game could shape up to be a pitcher's duel with North Carroll junior Kandi Lippy going against Damascus junior Christine Trunnell.
Both have pitched all of their team's innings with Lippy at 11-6 with a 1.49 ERA and Trunnell at 13-3 with a 0.43 ERA and 106 strikeouts.
"Kandi's going to have to pitch a good game, keep her walks down and we're going to need our defense to back her up to stay in the ballgame," Harvey said.
King said the Hornets are a much younger team this year than the past couple of years.
"We're still learning to gel with one another, but this team has a lot of the same heart and soul," she said.
"We can't commit a lot of errors, need to be aggressive at the plate and will need the solid pitching from Christine. We know North Carroll basically has the same people back."
The Panthers are led offensively by third baseman Jen Rongione and catcher Teresa Mays.
Damascus outfielder Heather Templeton is batting around .500 and leads the team in RBIs with 19.