Season on the line for Sean Thompson

Sean Thompson will get the nod in game two of the Midwest League playoffs between South Bend and Fort Wayne. Unfortunately, his prediction did not wring true and the Wizards lost the opening game of the series. But that doesn't matter to the lefthander.<br><br>"I don't really want to come out of my game," Thompson said.

His game has been consistency. Sean Thompson has almost always left his team in the game. In 25 of his 27 starts, he allowed four runs or less and in 19 he allowed two runs or less.

"Just stick with the things I have been doing all year – except for the two nine run games…," Thompson said.

The two games he speaks of came in succession during early August. Since then he has pitched in five games and has allowed six runs.

His 9-6 record belies his success. In the 12 games where he did not get a decision, Thompson allowed just 17 runs.

So when he steps up on the hill to face South Bend, there is a confidence, an attitude.

Just the same, he has to keep it in check.

"The first pitch may not be anywhere near the plate," Thompson admits.

It is his first taste of playoff action. The adrenaline will run high. The plan is to temper it and use that extra force for good.

"Yeah, definitely," Thompson said of the increased anxiety, "Because this will be my first playoff berth with a professional team. It will be channeled a little bit better but I won't just keep it quiet. I will try and divide it between the team so we can all be excited. I know everyone is pretty charged up but I just don't want us to press."

To calm the nerves, Thompson has already made his plans that will have taken place by game day. Thompson has looked into the future and is seeking to align the stars just right.

"I will be getting sleep," a determined Thompson said. "The next morning I have to sleep until about two. Then I will be ok. Sleep until about two since the game is at seven. The meal the night before with my host family – so it should be ok."

Calm and cool, Thompson has become the leader of this team.

This is the playoffs. Sure it isn't the World Series, but there will be some players who never get to taste the Major Leagues, much less the World Series. In the Minors, at any level, this is where it is at.

Family longing to see their loved ones will have to wait a while.

"None of them are happier than all of us because we want to be in the playoffs," Thompson added. "This is like day one of spring training. And then all the guys are in extended and they got moved up. They are happy – we are happy.

"It's the same thing (as making the playoffs in the Majors). We don't get incentives for making the playoffs but it is preparing us for later years. It kind of makes us more competitive."

After a long season, it isn't out of place to expect some of the players to want to go home. They have put in the long hours throughout the season, but this is where the rewards really come.

"Some guys are out there making their money and getting their paychecks – I got drafted so I am going to coast for a little while," Thompson admitted. "They are in a situation where we have to win."

Down by one in a best of three series, they don't have a choice. Lose and the rest of your teammates are let down. No one wants to leave for the offseason on a sour note. Not these Wizards. They have withstood so much already and have so much more to give.

Denis Savage can be reached at denis@sandiegosports.net

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