PLAYOFF BASEBALL IS HERE: Bulldogs set to host W.S. Neal in round 1

Published 12:05 am Thursday, April 18, 2019

The No. 5-ranked Andalusia Bulldogs (21-8) will face off with W.S. Neal today in Andalusia for the first round of the AHSAA Class 4A state playoffs.

The Bulldogs are  the defending Class 4A state champions.

“Finishing with a 21-8 record is pretty good,” Andalusia head coach Tyler Dent said. “Right now, we have some momentum going into the playoffs.”

Dent said the team has continued to improve throughout the year.

“It took us a little time to get going, because we had some guys that had to find their identities,” Dent said. “We have been pretty consistent on the mound and defensively. At the plate, we have continued to get better.”

Pitching and defense is something that Dent said has been something that has pleased him.

“One thing that has really pleased me has been the pitching and defense,” Dent said. “The excites me going forward. If we keep pitching and playing defense like this, we might be able to make a deep playoff run. These guys give us a chance to win every time.”

Dent said that W.S. Neal is not a team that the Bulldogs will take lightly.

“This is a team that we have a lot of history with,” Dent said. “We have a history of close games with them. They do a really good job running the bases. They lost a few players from last year’s team, but this is a team that won more than 30 games last year. They will hit a high chopper in front of the plate and they will be on first before you can make a play on the ball. We have to work on containing them on the base paths.”

Dent said the Bulldogs have to make W.S. Neal earn base runners.

“We have to have no free passes,” Dent said. “Our pitchers have to throw strikes and we have to keep playing good defense. We can’t give them extra bases. We have to play defense behind our pitchers. We have to make them earn everything. We can’t give them anything.”

Playoff rounds are a best of three series. The winner advances to round two and the loser is done.

“This is it,” Dent said. “You win and you move on. You lose and you can get ready for spring football or whatever it is you are doing next. All of our kids have been here before so we know what is at stake.”

Dent said he wasn’t sure who would be pitching for the Bulldogs during the series.

“I’m not sure who we will throw in the series,” Dent said. “We know whoever we put on the mound is going to give us a chance to win. It should be an exciting series and I want to encourage everyone to come out and watch. These boys have worked hard and I know that they would love to see a big crowd out here supporting them.”

Game one of the series is set for 4 p.m., and game two is scheduled for 6 p.m.

If necessary, game three will be played on Friday at 4 p.m.

Andalusia will recognize their senior baseball players prior to the game at 3:30 p.m.