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PHS begins 8th trip to state

Today marks the eighth time the Pleasant Home Lady Eagles will make an appearance at the Class 1A state softball tournament in Montgomery. The No. 2 Lady Eagles will play No. 1 Speake in the first game.

In 2007, the Lady Eagles fell to Speake in the first game, 7-2, but came back to defeat them, 1-0, later in the tournament.

That same year, Pleasant Home beat Mount Hope, 11-3, to advance to the championship game against Kinston. The Lady Eagles beat Kinston 6-0 in the first game and then Kinston came back to win 6-4 in the final game.

Last year, Pleasant Home was knocked out early in the losers’ bracket, falling to Spring Garden, 4-3.

At the south regional tournament in Gulf Shores, the Lady Eagles fought their way back to earn the runner-up position behind Kinston.

“I’m thankful to have another shot at the tournament,” Pleasant Home coach Jimmy Reeves said. “I’ve been real blessed to have seven good years in a row and the girls just keep on coming back and keep working hard. Every year you think you’ve lost seniors and then somebody comes in and takes their place and keeps getting better.”

Reeves said there isn’t anything he will do differently this year at state, but that it all comes down to what team is doing the best.

“When you get up there, it comes down to what team is hot. We’ve gotten up there and we’ve gotten hot a couple of times, and then (other times we’ve) gotten up there and have been the victim of other hot teams,” he said. “So, we just hope that we’ll be clicking and the fact that we weren’t clicking last weekend makes me feel like we’ll be clicking on all cylinders this weekend.”

At practice this week, the Lady Eagles (31-10) have been working on hitting and putting the ball in play, Reeves said.

“We’ve just got to do a better job of putting some runs on the board and, at the same time, keep that same defense up,” Reeves said. “That’s what is hard — if you concentrate on your offense and take one second of work out of your defense, than all of a sudden it won’t make any difference.

“Last year, we got up there and had a bunch of runs scored on us. We hope to go back up there with our good defense this year and keep it to low-scoring games.”

Reeves said he is especially “proud” of the team this year.

“I am so proud of this bunch,” he said. “They have had a great year. We’ve had some low points and they’ve stayed together and they’ve been a real fun group to coach. They have great leadership and I’ve had four seniors that have been with me now for six years, so it’s been a very enjoyable bunch and a good year.”

The Lady Eagles will face Speake on Field No. 6 at Lagoon Park in Montgomery today at 10:30 a.m.