• 86°

‘Business as usual’ for title-bound PLAS

The stage is set for the top two teams in the AISA to meet for the chance at a championship.

On Wednesday, the Pike Liberal Arts Patriots and the Glenwood Gators will meet in a classic battle oh No. 1 and No. 2, as Glenwood will be looking to defend its 2009 state championship, while PLAS will be looking to claim its first baseball championship.

“It comes down to, what I think are the, two best teams playing for the championship,” head coach Butch Austin said.

“This is what you play and coach for.

“This is what it’s all about. If you can’t get excited for something like this, you don’t need to be out here,” the coach added.

The Patriots advanced to the title game last week with a sweep over Macon-East and in doing so, advanced to a position in the playoffs the program has not been to in nearly 13 years.

But even with the unfamiliarity of being in the championship game, as well as the pressures it may bring, both the coach and players said it has been business as usual for PLAS.

“We have taken the same routine as we have all season long,” senior Trey Walters said. “(Playing in the championship game) really began to sink in on Sunday when we were talking about how to prepare for the game.”

Like Walters, fellow senior Ross Hixon said there is no reason to change things up this late in the season.

“We won 30 games this season doing the things we have been doing – it’s worked for us so far and we are going to stay with it.”

This will not be the first time these teams have met this season. The Gators and the Patriots have already played twice, with the Patriots taking the season series after winning both games.

Those two wins came by a combined four runs, however.

“We keep (those wins) in the back of our minds,” Walters said. “This is the best team we have played all year. Those wins were nice, but I don’t it is going to be something we are using for confidence on Wednesday,” he added.