Pike Liberal Arts looks to erase past championship experiences

Published 10:53 pm Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Pike Liberal Arts will play Tuscaloosa Academy Wednesday, May 9 at 10 a.m. (Photo/Thomas Graning)

Four senior members of the Pike Liberal Arts baseball team will be setting foot on Patterson Field for the third consecutive year in the Alabama Independent School Association state championship series.

This time, however, it will also mark the final time they will play in a Patriot uniform.

“The previous two years haven’t gone in our favor,” catcher Blake Floyd said. “I would be like a dream come true to leave the field for the final time in high school as a state champion.”

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Pike Liberal Arts has been no stranger to success. Over the past decade, the Patriots have won two state championships in football and one in each in girl’s basketball and golf.

“This is the last game we will play in any sport,” Floyd said. “We loved it in football and the other sports but we all love baseball or we wouldn’t be out here.”

Despite the pressure of playing for a state title, the Pike seniors feel more confident and relaxed than in years past.

“I feel a little bit better because it is a different team,” Nick McLaughlin said. “It will be a little different feel going in to the games.”

Pike face someone other than Glenwood in the championship due to the fact that the Patriots defeated the Gators, who won the past two titles, in the semi-finals last week.

“The past two years have been a let down,” third baseman Josh Starling said. “We always know Glenwood is going to be a tough team when the playoffs roll around so it relieves a lot of stress to have already beaten them.”

Pike knocked off this year’s opponent Tuscaloosa twice this season both coming in the Patriots annual Jonah McWaters Invitational Tournament by scores of 12-6 and 6-5.

First pitch from Montgomery is set for 10a.m. with the second game immediately afterwards.