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PHS boys ready for playoffs against Fruitdale

Pleasant Home baseball coach Bradley Stephens said his team is ready for Fruitdale tonight in the first round of the Class 1A state playoffs.

Last season, the Eagles (18-7) met the Pirates (3-12) at home, where they were swept in two games, 14-0 and 8-6.

Both teams will play in a best-out-of-three games format. The games are at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. today. If both teams split, a Saturday game will be played at 11 a.m., if needed. Admission is $8.

Stephens said this year’s team is different than last year’s team.

“They beat us when they came over here, and I don’t feel like we were ready for them,” he said.

How so?

“I feel like we have a better team this year than we did last year,” Stephens said. “I’ve got more kids that are on board with the program,” he said. “They’re not worried about their own agenda. They’re worried about the team and they’re wanting to get better. They have more of a winning instinct — they want to win and do well. They know they’re a good team and now it’s just a matter of keeping a level head and playing baseball.”

Pleasant Home has kept a level head throughout its area play this season, where it went undefeated, and churned out a 4-0 record to earn the area title.

To wrap up the regular season, the Eagles defeated Laurel Hill, and Stephens said that game came at good timing.

Stephens said setting the tone early in today’s games will be the main key.

“From what I’ve learned about Fruitdale is that we’re going to have to jump on them early and really set the pace for the game,” Stephens said. “I know there isn’t a pace (in baseball), but just to jump on them and to just say, ‘we are who we are, and we’ve gotten this far for a reason.’ They’re the runner up in their area and we’re supposed to be area champs.”

Recently, Pleasant Home split with Cottage Hill Christian Academy, a private school out of Mobile.

Stephens said Fruitdale has played CHCA before and they played them “tough.”

“We played a common opponent in Cottage Hill and they played them pretty tough,” he said. “From what I’ve been told is that they ride a lot on emotion. When the emotions are high, they are going to be playing real well.”

Stephens said he the team wouldn’t be where they are now if it wasn’t for their faith in each other and in God.

“Before every game, we give every game to God,” he said. “We give him the credit after the game. God has given each one of these young men the ability to play, and I just pray that I don’t screw it all up.

“Faith has been a big part and we commit a lot to God,” he said. “He’s the main reason for where we are this year.”