From everything Tony Sikes has heard, the District 14-AAAA baseball championship goes through Corsicana this year.

Just don’t tell that to his Hornets, who, at 7-7, now have their sights set on two goals:

1. Make the playoffs, and

2. Win district

“I know Corsicana is picked to win the district, but somebody forgot to tell our kids that,” Sikes said. “It’s a big game, and we’re going after it.”

And they’re accepting that challenge even if every position is not set in stone. Sikes said he is still “moving some guys around” and said he is looking for another pitcher to serve in a type of No.3 starter/middle relief role.

Looking for pitchers at the top of the order won’t be an issue. Trent Montgomery and Brant Radcliff hold those positions, and they have an offense that is improving game-by-game with the likes of seniors Brandon Warren and Charlie Hankins heating up.

“We’re hitting the ball a lot better, and I would say team unity and leadership have been our strength,” Sikes said.

And for that he can thank those seniors. When Sikes looks down his lineup card, he sees four other starters, Ross Andress, Cody Smith, Seth Jezek and Montgomery. Brad Busch, Josh Callaway, David Skiles, Blace Floyd and Charlie Smith are in the reserve.

The Tigers are expected to be as good as advertised. Heading the top of their rotation is Keith Leerskov, the co-pitcher of the year in the district last year, and Stayton Thomas, who transferred from Class 2A Mildred in Navarro County. He was named the county’s Most Valuable Player as a freshman and a sophomore.

Sikes said it’s going to take a sweep of Corsicana, or Ennis or Red Oak, for the Hornets to make the playoffs.

“We believe in each other and have confidence in each other,” he said. “We don’t give up regardless.”

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e-mail jlarson@athensreview.com

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