JOHNSON: Patriots have chance to erase past

Published 11:24 pm Wednesday, April 25, 2012

What do the Pike Liberal Arts Patriots and the Texas Rangers have in common? Both have lost the last two championship series.

Texas lost to the San Francisco Giants in 2010 then the St. Louis Cardinals in 2011. The Patriots have fallen to Glenwood School the past two seasons.

Great teams lose championships, it happens. But they also find a way to win them.

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To this point, Pike has put some very good teams on the field but has failed to win the big one. Great teams win the big one.

Is this the best Patriots team to ever set foot on Butch Austin Field? No, but this could very well be the team to win the school its first ever state baseball title.

Though the team has some weaknesses in the bottom of the lineup, Pike has a tremendous pitching staff capable of shutting down very good offenses.

Pike has proven that this season by defeating the team that has crushed their dreams the past two seasons, Glenwood, not once but three times.

When asked how long it had been since the Patriots had accomplished that feat, head coach Butch Austin responded, “a while.”

Troy is known for its great baseball teams. Troy University claimed NCAA national titles in 1986 and 1987. Charles Henderson took the AHSAA state crown in 2004. It has been said that several of Troy’s best teams failed to reach the tournament. I personally feel Charles Henderson had a more talented team in 2003. Pike’s team may not be the best ever but they have a shot to go down as one of the city’s greats.

The Patriots have come close several times to reaching the top of the mountain. Who can forget 1997 when they were eliminated on a walk-off home run in the state finals?

No one except the players and coaches remember everything about a team. But everyone remembers the team that brought home a state championship trophy.

Could this be the year it happens for Pike?