PLAYOFF READY: Pike Lib ready to take the field against Morgan Academy
Published 3:00 am Friday, April 17, 2015
Despite the rain, Pike Liberal Arts School baseball head coach Allen Ponder said the team is still eager to take the field Friday against Morgan Academy.
“Honestly, I would have rather not played and just been able to practice, but this rain has just kind of put a damper on all of our plans this week,” Ponder said. “It’s very difficult when you’re getting ready for a playoff series and you’re not able to do anything whatsoever.”
Ponder said the team had been practicing in the school’s gym when it was available this past week, and the team even had a few chance opportunities to practice outdoors. Ultimately Ponder said the team had just tried to take advantage of any chance they had to practice.
“On the days at practice time when it wasn’t raining we got in the cage, and took some swings,” Ponder said. “When we could get on parts of the infield we took some ground balls, took some fly balls…It was good for us to get one or two days of that in, but we would have loved to have gotten at least three or four games in before our first playoff series.”
The Patriots have not had the chance to face Morgan Academy this baseball season, but Ponder said he knows the challenges that await the boys when they take the field today.
“Morgan is a tough team,” Ponder said. “They’ve got a scrappy bunch of kids. We know what to expect when they come in here. We don’t want to play the team in the other dugout; we want to play our game. We want to be the best we can be, and we feel like if we are the best we can be as a team then we’re going to be a tough opponent for anybody. That’s the same standpoint we’re going to take going against Morgan.”
Ponder said he would be starting the same familiar faces in the Pats matchup against the Senators saying the team had remained reliable and solid with this line up.
“We’ll probably start Rush Hixon on the mound,” Ponder said. “We’ll probably start Tucker Johnson behind the plate. Drew Starling will be at third, Keegan Simmons will be at short, Murphy Renfroe will be at second and Bailey Renfroe will be at first. Then we’ll have Hayes Lee in center. We’ll have Adam Grice in left field, and we will probably have Colby Roberts in right to start the game.”
With the Patriots set to face the Senators at 1:30 p.m. on Butch Austin Field, Ponder said the school would be releasing seventh through 12th grade students to give them the opportunity to watch the two-game contest.
“We should have a very, very good crowd here tomorrow,” Ponder said. “There’s a lot of excitement building up about tomorrow, and we’re just hoping and praying we are able to start on time and if not that we are able to get them in period. It’s exciting, the kids are going to be excited about it and the adrenaline is going to be pumping. We understand Morgan is going to be excited also, and they’re going to bring a lot of intensity so we’re going to match it. If we can play our game and do that, I think we’ll be fine.”
The Patriots are set to face off against the Morgan Academy Senators at 1:30 p.m. today with a second game following shortly after the conclusion of the first game.
A third game may be played on Saturday if the two teams split today’s contests.