PLAS gets back to basics in preparation for title series

Published 10:25 pm Monday, May 7, 2012

Once you’ve played in two consecutive Alabama Independent School Association state championship series, the preparation for the third is somewhat routine.

Pike Liberal Arts took to the practice field for the team’s final full practice before loading the bus bound for Patterson Field in Montgomery on Wednesday.

“We covered all of our stuff today,” head coach Butch Austin said. “Bunt coverages, defenses, signals, we went over it all today.”

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The Patriots will have a light practice today before heading north to take on Tuscaloosa Academy in a best-of-three series beginning at 10a.m.

“We’re going to go up and play the best we can,” Austin said in his signature low-key tone. “If we win it, we’ll enjoy it. If we don’t we’ll come on home.”

Pike Liberal Arts and the Troy community is well aware of its past misfortunes in the title series. The Patriots have lost the past two seasons at Patterson Field to Glenwood in agonizing fashion.

Pike was swept in 2010. Last season, the Patriots won the first game before falling in the two.

“These guys don’t seem nervous,” said Austin. “They know what it’s like to be there.”

Pike Liberal Arts defeated Tuscaloosa Academy 12-5 and 6-5 in the Jonah McWaters Invitational Tournament earlier this season but Austin knows that this is a different stage.

“Anything can happen this time of year,” he said. “You never know when you play in game as big as these coming up.”

Pike and Tuscaloosa will play a doubleheader on Wednesday starting at 10a.m. with the second game immediately following the first. The ‘if-neccesary’ game is scheduled for Thursday at 11a.m. should the teams split.

Check Wednesday’s Messenger for a full preview.