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Patriots return to state

The Pike Liberal Arts Lady Patriots make a return trip to Lagoon Park in Montgomery for the AISA State Softball Tournament.

The Lady Patriots finished the 2019 regular season in second place within Class AAA Area 2 behind Macon-East. After making it past the opening round of the playoffs against Lee-Scott, the Patriots finished in third place in the Regional Tournament in Montgomery to secure a three-seed in the state tournament.

The Patriots will be one of eight teams in Class AAA teams competing for a state championship.

“It’s been business as usual,” said Patriot head coach Robert Rollan. “We did things on Monday and Tuesday and we did some hitting today (Wednesday). We are taking it business as usual.”

The Patriots will take on the Morgan Academy Senators in round one beginning at 10 a.m. on Thursday morning. After a long season, the Patriots are heading down the final stretch to what they hope is a state championship.

“I told them this is what we play for,” Rollan said. “This is where we are at. If we play really well, I think things will go well for us. I think in my opinion, we could finish further than we did last year.”

The Patriots finished third in the state a season ago and, with plenty of experience returning, the hope is they can finish higher this season.

“We just have to play great defense,” Rollan said. “We have to get outs. We can’t let pop ups fall should-be-outs. Little things like that, that is what championship teams do. They make the outs on defense and they take advantage of other team’s mistakes. That’s what we have to do. We have to be aggressive and advantageous of other team’s mistakes.”

The Patriots are guaranteed to play two games on Thursday. A Patriot loss would send the Patriots into the loser’s bracket, where they would play again at 2 p.m. A patriot win would match them up with the winner of the game between Macon-East and Tuscaloosa at 4 p.m.