But the Lincoln County baseball coach, who’s in his first season as the Red Devils’ head coach after he was previously an assistant for the team, has his club instead looking up at no one.
The Red Devils took the Region 7-A baseball title and a No. 1 seed for the GHSA Class A state playoffs that comes with it.
“Honestly, I didn’t think we would be the favorite. I thought we would battle for second or third,” said Wheeler, who also coached Kansas City Royals pitcher Jonathan Broxton while he was at Burke County. “We aren’t doing too bad.”
Lincoln County (14-5) hasn’t lost since March 28 as it is set to play Gordon Lee at 2:30 p.m. and 5:30 today at home in the first round of the state tournament.
The Red Devils won the region championship with a powerful lineup led by Mason Saggus’ .466 average.
But the pitching has also been unyielding, as Lincoln County has held opponents to one or zero runs in four of the past eight games.
Both Cole Mattison and Price Rogers have earned four victories this season, with Mattison posting an ERA under 2.00.
Along with the pitching, Wheeler points to fielding and other fundamentals as keys to beating Gordon Lee.
“We’ve got to continue to get the good pitching we’ve been getting,” Wheeler said. “If we get those things, we’ll get a shot of hopefully going to the next round.”