Rebels, Hounds in key district battles today

Published 12:00 am Monday, May 9, 2005

NATCHEZ &045; There may have been more long faces with the Adams Christian Rebels the day after their loss to Prairie View than immediately after.

That’s because the team that has taken pride in practicing hard this season got the day off following the 9-8 defeat in Bastrop, La. But they went back to work Thursday in preparation for today’s rematch in Natchez in a contest that will all but determine the District 3-AA championship and seeding for the playoffs in two weeks.

First pitch is set for 6 p.m. at ACCS.

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&uot;I think the kids realized they’ll have to play a full seven innings,&uot; Adams head coach Gill Morris said. &uot;Prairie View is not going to lay down. They come after you every inning. There was some disappointment that we didn’t practice, but I told them we were going to do that before we went up there. We (came) out today and had a good practice and are ready to win by two.&uot;

The Rebels have to come out today and win by two runs to claim the district championship. More importantly, they just have to win to set up anything going in their favor heading into the playoffs.

The Rebels (7-1, 15-3) had their 10-game winning streak snapped when the Spartans rallied for five runs in the sixth to take the one-run lead Tuesday. Then Adams Christian came up empty in the top of the seventh to take the loss.

AC finished the game with 11 runners left on base and had two errors, two walks and one hit batter to buoy the Spartans’ five-run frame in the sixth.

&uot;We just need to get back to playing our game and be a little more patient at the plate,&uot; Morris said. &uot;Earlier in the season everybody was struggling hitting curveballs, and we were doing a good job up until the other night. He didn’t throw enough curveballs to have us as off balance as we were. It was just those two innings.&uot;

The Spartans will try and half the Rebels’ 11-game winning streak at home dating back to last season. They may throw Jones, while the Rebels will go with either David Trisler or Corey Walker on the mound to start.

Jones can come with a fastball, a little cut fastball and a curveball. The Rebels, who had 10 hits off Cole Johnson Tuesday, just need to get the timely hits and make plays on defense.

&uot;They’ve got decent team speed, more speed than I thought,&uot; Morris said. &uot;They swing the bats well with two strikes. The kids want to win at home. They’ve got a streak going. I’ve got all the confidence in the world we’re going to do it.&uot;

Huntington at Franklin

FERRIDAY, La. &045; If Tuesday’s game sunk in on Huntington’s Hounds like head coach Mitch Ashmore hopes, things ought to be fine today.

But there’s still a game to play on the road against the first-place team in District 7-A. The Cougars won the first meeting 6-4, and the Hounds (8-1, 15-5) need to win by three if they want to be district champs.

If not, they’ll go in as the No. 2 thanks to Tuesday’s 8-7 win over Tensas Academy.

&uot;I think that definitely has to be our focus,&uot; Ashmore said. &uot;We are definitely in the playoffs, and our goal is to be the No. 1 team coming out of district. Our goal is to win our district, and that’s what we’re trying to do (today).&uot;

Regardless of the outcome, the season is part of an impressive turnaround for a Hounds team that has had its share of struggles in each of the last two seasons. Battling with youth and numbers, the Hounds couldn’t put it together on the field as they have this season.

&uot;Like (Tuesday) night, we got 10 hits but don’t cash in on key hits,&uot; Ashmore said. &uot;We have to be able to have timely hits. I’ve been a believer in rolling the ball somewhere. In high school baseball, there are going to be errors made. If you have the least errors and throw strikes, you’ll come out on top.&uot;