Not ready to lose: Centreville eyes state title with semifinals to play first

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, May 8, 2018

Centreville Academy’s Jace DeLee, along with his five fellow seniors, are not willing to settle.

Heading into today’s matchup with Brookhaven Academy, the Tigers have a chance to get a decent head start on their ultimate goal.

“The last time we won a state championship was 2012,” DeLee said. “I think everyone is getting anxious to get another.

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“We are pretty tired of second and third place. We are ready to win.”

Today’s Game 1 of the MAIS Class AA South State Championship Series will be at home, and Centreville coach Jason Horne said he hopes his team can take advantage of the opportunity.

“It’s always good to get the home game first,” he said. “If you can get that first one under your belt, knowing you have to go to their place and only get one win, is extremely important.”

As DeLee said he believes he and the Tiger seniors are eager to end their careers on the right note, he added they aren’t the only ones who are excited.

“It’s been a team effort. Nobody tries to be anything they are not,” he said. “Just being who you are is kind of our story. Everyone tries to be the best they can be at their position, and I think we are just trying to give everyone in our community the win they deserve, too.”

Horne agreed this year’s team has shown to be a tight-knit one, especially in the past few weeks.

The Tigers (21-8) received a first-round playoff bye, followed by a second-round sweep of Newton Academy last week. They won Game 1, 7-5, and Game 2, 3-2.

“This is strong team, and they have each other’s back,” Horne said. “Every year it’s our goal to win a state championship, and they definitely want to be in the group of ones to do that.”

Horne said though he knows Brookhaven Academy is a strong team all around, the Tigers should have no problem behind the arms of DeLee, Bradie Garrett and Tyler Thomassie, along with solid hitting.

“We have a job to do, and I expect them to come out like we are truly one of the four teams still in this thing,” Horne said. “We have to play each pitch and get our job done.”

And if they do find themselves in a rut, DeLee said he isn’t worried.

DeLee is expected to pitch Game 2 Thursday at Brookhaven Academy.

“I think this team is very competitive,” he said. “We don’t go down easy. We might not have all the talent in the world, but we usually give a good game every time.”

Today’s Game 1 is set for a 6:30 p.m. first pitch. If needed, Game 3 will follow Game 2 on Thursday.