Playoff baseball back on the schedule
Trinity’s series win over LAMP started with Cam Ransburgh’s leadoff single in Game 1. The Wildcats will look to advance to the Class 3A semifinals against Dadeville. (Staff Photo)
When Alabama Christian Academy coach Don Gilliam learned that the Eagles’ quarterfinal-round Class 4A series against Bibb County would be pushed back a few days, he did what most coaches would do in the situation.
Schedule a practice game.
Baseball teams will be back in action on Tuesday for the Alabama High School Athletic Association playoffs, which were interrupted by a scare from the Swine Flu epidemic that has threatened the state.
“(The layoff) gave us some rest to our arms,” Gilliam said. “When we found out we weren’t playing, we decided to scrimmage. Our kids threw like it was Friday. They had a limited pitch count. Hitters got to see live pitches. We will not look at this as a negative. It’s like a rainout.
“There is a possibility for rain (Tuesday). It could get pushed back even further.”
ACA is one of a handful of teams playing on Tuesday. Trinity will be in action at home in the Class 3A bracket. The Wildcats will play Dadeville in a doubleheader. Prattville goes on the road to face Auburn in Class 6A.
The Eagles have had relatively easy victories over Handley and Holtville but Gilliam was quick to point out that his team was mentally ready in both series. They will need a repeat performance against the Choctaws.
“Our pitchers have had real good outings, and that has helped us a great deal,” he said. “We expect them to go out tomorrow and give us a good performance. “
The Wildcats are coming off an upset of top-ranked LAMP in the second round of the playoffs, thanks to a combined 25 runs scored in two games. But Josh Teel said the celebration lasted only a couple of days before focus was turned to Dadeville.
“Coach told us we could celebrate for a day but we had to move forward and get ready for Dadeville,” Teel said.
Trinity jumped out early in Game 1 and created a confidence that Ken Whittle said was lacking in the first meeting against LAMP.
“I believe when Cam Ransburgh opened the first game with that single, it set the tone,” he said. “Our kids relaxed a little bit. When you start playoff games, particularly against a team you’ve played before, emotions run high and the adrenalin gets going. Pitching and defense has to be better.”
Whittle believes his team has put aside the win over the Tigers and should be ready for Tuesday’s series.
“When Monday started, we moved forward,” Whittle said. “We can’t dwell on the past. We have been working hard on (Dadeville). They present some challenges and play situations that we needed to cover and we jumped right into that.”
Gilliam believes his team’s experience in last year’s playoffs are paying dividends this year.
“I noticed in practice today how much they are having a good time and staying loose,” he said. “I contribute that to senior leadership and our young guys able to advance so deep last year.”
Prattville will attempt to duplicate what it did two years ago when it went to Auburn as an underdog and advanced to the next round.
“It will be a tough chore but we’ve done it before,” Lions’ coach Tommy Goodson said. “They’ve got a good ballclub but if we can cut down on errors and get three good starts from our pitchers, we have a chance.”
Also on Tuesday, the Alabama Independent School Association will open its state finals at Paterson Field. The Class AA series will feature two teams from the River Region when Edgewood Academy takes on Autauga Academy. Also on Tuesday, Abbeville Christian plays Cornerstone Christian in Class A.