The Athens Review
The Athens Hornets begin their run for a state title this weekend in a best-of-three series against the Crandall Pirates.
Game 1 is scheduled for Friday night at 7:30 p.m. in Crandall, with Game 2 Saturday at 1 p.m. in Athens.
If a third game is necessary, it will be played 30 minutes after game two.
There is a chance the series could be moved due to a 30-percent chance of rain in Crandall on Friday.
First year coach Dallas Robertson said fans should be ready for a fun series.
“It will be one of those good hard fought series,” Robertson said. “Our boys are well deserving of the situation they are in. Crandall is a very seasoned playoff team and I like the attitude of our players.”
Athens comes into the series as the only remaining county team still in the playoffs.
They bring a record of 17-14 into Game 1 after losing, 8-1, to Hughes Springs last Friday in their final warmup game.
Robertson said his players will need to be ready to face a seasoned pitching staff.
“What we have noticed is they throw strikes and don’t walk many batters,” Robertson said. “They throw their off speed pitches for strikes and they are battlers on the mound. They have a very good pitching staff.”
The pitching staff of Garrett Conley, Morgan Gimler and Travis Takata have had some strong practices, according to Robertson.
“If our pitchers will throw strikes, I think our defense is strong enough to keep us in it,” Robertson said. “Our pitchers are focused and ready to go this weekend.”
Another area Robertson said the team is focusing on is finding ways to advance base runners in scoring position.
“Our mind set is to be aggressive at the plate and score runs with runners in scoring position,” Robertson said. “We have been teaching the last three weeks to focus on the task at hand. The kids are fired up and ready to go and it is playoff time.”
The winner of this series faces Pleasant Grove or Bullard in the regional quarterfinals next week.