Patriots head to Phenix City for Border Wars

Published 7:28 pm Thursday, March 5, 2020

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The Pike Liberal Arts Patriots will play in their second tournament of the season when they travel to Phenix City to take part in the Border Wars Tournament hosted by the Glenwood School.

The Patriots have gotten off to a 6-0 start this season and are coming off a championship in their own Jonah McWaters Tournament last week. This week, the Patriots will be one of many teams competing in a three day long tournament that officially got under way on Thursday.

“It’s always exciting playing in Border Wars,” head coach Allen Ponder said. “It’s a great opportunity for Alabama teams to branch out a little bit and see some teams from Georgia. It’s great competition and our kids enjoy playing in it. It’s a chance to see someone different. It was good for us last year and we expect it to be good for us this year.”

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Six games into their schedule, Ponder hopes this sets up his team for the future. He expects to learn much more about his team when they go up against the quality of opponents they will see this weekend.

“A tournament like this is always a good measuring stick at this point of the season,” Ponder said. “See what you’re good at and see what you need to work on. It was really good for us last year in that respect. This year we play some really good opponents and we expect this to show us the areas we are going to be really good at and the areas we are not really good at. Give us an identity when we move into area play.”

The Patriots entered the season with a strong and deep pitching rotation. It will be put to the test when they play in at least four games in the next three days.

“We feel like we are a lot deeper in that area that we have been in a little while,” Ponder said. “We have always had quality arms, but we feel like this year we have more. This will be a great chance for those guys to see some really good competition and good hitters. This is always a good opportunity to find out which pitchers you’re going to be able to throw in really big games.”

In their win in the Jonah McWaters Tournament, Ponder saw a lot of good, but at the same time he saw some things out of his team that they need to iron out.

“We played well,” Ponder said. “I was proud of our guys. We always want to win our own tournament. We played well at times and we showed signs of being good. The good thing is we also showed a lot of things that we need to work on. We played some quality opponents in that tournament also. It’s great early in the season to see that kind of stuff.”

The tournament officially began on Thursday in Phenix City. The Patriots will play two games on Friday beginning at noon against Calvary Christian. They will take on Autauga Academy on Friday evening beginning at 6 p.m. The Patriots will take on Heritage School beginning at 9 a.m. on Saturday before closing out the tournament in a seeded game on Saturday afternoon.