The Athens Review
The Athens Hornets look to take down another foe in their quest for a Region II, Class 3A state title.
This time, the Hornets battle the defending state champion, Pleasant Grove Hawks (21-11) in the regional quarterfinals this weekend.
“They have a good core of kids and they play the same style of ball that they always have played,” first-year coach Dallas Robertson said. “They are aggressive and the pitching is solid. They are able to score runs and play good defense.”
Game 1 of the series is scheduled for Friday night at 7 p.m. at Northeast Texas Community College, while Game 2 is scheduled for 1 p.m. Saturday.
Game 3 is set for 30 minutes after the conclusion of Game 2, if necessary.
Athens comes into the contest as the District 15-3A champions and the area round champions.
They defeated the Crandall Pirates in a best-of-three series after losing Game 1, 3-2 last Friday.
On Saturday, they won by scores of 4-3 and 13-10 with all three games decided in the seventh inning.
This is the farthest the Hornets have been in the playoffs since a regional quarterfinal appearance against Liberty Eylau in 2007.
PGHS swept Bullard in their area round series by scores of 4-2 and 2-0.
The Hawks come into the game with a record of 21-11 and managed only three hits in their Game 2 win.
“The program (Pleasant Grove) speaks for itself,” Robertson said. “They have always had good players and I think it is five in a row to Austin and they have won it two times during that stretch.”
AHS will go with the pitching trio of Garrett Conley, Morgan Gimler and Travis Takata.
Should the Hornets need to go to the bullpen, they will have Josh Darden for relief.
Robertson said his staff has been solid during practices and will continue to get better leading up to the series.
PGHS senior Dalton Willege and junior utility player Trey Jeans were the pitchers in the first two games against Bullard.
This series will be the ninth year that Robertson and Hawks head coach Craig Jones have faced each other.
“We know each other very well,” Robertson said. “It will be a good battle and a very tough series.”
The winner will face the winner of the Princeton and Krum series in regional semifinal action next week.
In the other Region II quarterfinals, Melissa plays Argyle, while Gilmer goes against Spring Hill.