Patriots return to PatersonPublished 10:31pm Tuesday, May 6, 2014
Austin’s final game will take place at the site of the one he remembers the most
A little less than two years ago, Butch Austin was carried off the playing surface at Paterson Field on the shoulders of his players.
To this day, Austin smiles when recalling that day and says it his “favorite game ever.”
Austin will coach his final game as Pike Liberal Arts head coach on the same diamond, as the Patriots will play for the AISA AAA State Championship at Paterson Field Wednesday afternoon.
“That state championship game is my favorite game ever,” Austin said. “The way we won it was great, and the kids worked hard. This group of kids has worked hard as well, and it would be great to see them rewarded with a championship too.”
Pike will meet the Glenwood Gators in the title series. The Pats and Gators have played twice during the 2014 season, with Glenwood winning both games.
The games took place on back-to-back days in late February, and Austin feels both teams will be different this go around.
“They are probably a better team by now, and I know for a fact we are,” said Austin. “You don’t make the championship game and not be a good team. I think it will be a close series against two really good teams.”
Paterson Field is much larger than the Patriots’ home field in Troy.
Paterson’s dimensions are 20-30 feet deeper than Butch Austin Field, and Pike spent much of the last week working on gap-to-gap defense.
“We worked a lot on double cuts and working on balls hit to the gaps,” Austin said. “In a championship game it usually comes down to the little things like not making errors, hitting cutoff men and moving guys over. Defense has been a big focus this week.”
Following a season-opening loss to Edgewood Academy in February, Pike Liberal Arts coach Butch Austin said his team had a lot of work to do to become a competitive team.
He feels his players have done that.
“These boys have done a lot this year to get better,” said Austin. “If we play like I know we can, then we will be fine. If we don’t then we will get beat. It’s that simple.”
Pike Liberal Arts and Glenwood will play two games on Wednesday, and a third game on Thursday if needed.
First pitch for Wednesday’s doubleheader is set for 10 a.m.