Red Level Tigers prep for St. Luke’s

Published 12:00 am Friday, April 19, 2019

The No. 10-ranked Red Level Tigers (12-6) are set to host the St. Luke’s Wildcats (9-12) in the opening round of the AHSAA Class 1A state playoffs today in Red Level.

“I felt like it was a good year for us,” Red Level head coach Todd Smith said. “We set a few goals at the beginning of the year. Our first goal was to have a winning season and our second goal was to win the area. We took care of business in those areas.”

Smith said his team has continued to improve as the season progressed.

“Early in the year, we struggled a bit defensively and hitting,” Smith said. “The last half of the year we have played solid defense and hit the ball better. We still haven’t peaked. We’ve reached every goal that we have set to this point. We are still a young team, but this has still been a good year. We won most of the games that we felt like we should have. We lost a few that we felt we could have won, but all in all it was a good year. ”

The Tigers went undefeated in area play this season to win the area title and earn the right to host round one of the playoffs.

“Going undefeated in area play was great,” Smith said. “Especially, the Pleasant Home series. We hadn’t won a game there in a few years so that was a huge series for us.”

Smith said that he knows it will be a tough series, but he knows his team is up for the challenge.

“I expect for us to come out compete and play hard,” Smith said. “I think we have a good chance to win the series. Pitching has been our strong suit and I feel good about our chances. It is going to be a tough series. Last year, they went to the fourth round in 2A, but they did graduate six players from that team. As long as we execute our game plan, we have a chance to win. That would be huge because it’s been a long time since we’ve made it to the second round.”

Smith said the key is going to be for the Tigers to continue playing the way they have been.

“Our pitchers, Kade Green and Tucker Livings have done a really good job,” Smith said. “The key for them is to get first pitch strikes and we have to play solid defense behind them. They have really good team speed so we can’t give them free bases. They have two really good pitchers also so we have to be able to execute our bunt game. If we can execute in those areas, we give ourselves a chance to win. We want to just approach this like we did area games. Just take it one game at a time. Don’t ride the waves or be a rollercoaster. We have to have energy. That’s energy in the dugout and on the field.”

Smith said he hopes for a good crowd at the series.

“I would like everyone to come out and support these kids,” Smith said. “We have had some really good home crowds this year. I think it pumps the kids up to see a lot of people in the crowd.”

Red Level and St. Luke’s will begin game one at 1 p.m., today in Red Level. Game two will be played around 3:30 p.m.  If needed, game three would be played on Saturday at 1 p.m.