PHS advances in season

Published 12:01 am Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Make sure to “finish” the game — that’s the motto for Pleasant Home as it hosts Fruitdale in the first round of the Class 1A state playoffs this Friday.

The Eagles will play in a best two-out-of-three series at 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. and if necessary at 11 a.m. on Saturday.

Pleasant Home (7-9, 4-0 in Class 1A, Area 3) won the area championship last Tuesday when the Eagles defeated Georgiana 10-0 after routing McKenzie 12-0 on Monday.

Pleasant Home coach David Kirkland said the team has been playing well, in spite of some obstacles that have come their way.

“We’ve been playing better baseball,” Kirkland said. “We’ve been coming together as a team. We have had to overcome a lot of adversity this season. Emory (Rabren), his knee has been even worse so he’s out and then we lost some more kids because they decided they didn’t want to play baseball anymore.

“This little group of 13 kids I’ve got right now are a real good strong core of players,” he said.

The Eagles are down to one senior — Josh Sutton — and Kirkland said he will fill the role of the team’s “workhorse” going into Friday.

“(Sutton’s) starting to hit the ball well and see the ball well,” he said. “So, he’s going to be what we depend on. He’ll be the workhorse behind the plate. On the mound, we’ll have Blake Herman. He’s now our ace.”

In addition to Sutton and Herman, Kirkland said Fernando Torres and Colter Poole have been great on the mound.

“We’ll be all right as far as that goes,” Kirkland said of his team’s pitching. “We don’t have a lot of depth, but those guys are committed and they are committed to play hard and I would say we have vastly improved since the first of the season when we were playing in the county tournament (at Straughn).”

Kirkland said his team would have to trust and rely on the “fundamentals” in order to win Friday.

“We need to play fundamental baseball, hit the ball well and make the routine plays and just do things right and do things that will help us to achieve that victory,” he said. “We’ve got to play smart baseball. I wouldn’t say that we were the most talented group, but we’ve got kids that have a lot of heart and it makes up some when the kids have a lot of heart and they go above and beyond.”

Kirkland said ninth grader Caleb Powell is an example of where his team is right now, as far as mentality goes.

“He came out there and has worked his way into a starting field position job,” Kirkland said. “He does a jam up job in the outfield. I just really appreciate him and the work he’s done. I’m using him as an example because the whole team has that mentality. They’re going to work and give the opposing team a ball game.”

Kirkland added that he hopes the team will be able to “finish” with Fruitdale.

“We hope that Friday we’ll be able to finish with those guys,” he said. “Maybe we can do it in two, if not in two in three then. But, really we’re just proud to be playing. There are several teams that are not going to be playing baseball this weekend.”