ACCS has hands full with Oak Forest

Published 4:44 pm Monday, April 22, 2024

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NATCHEZ — A late-season push in MAIS District 4-5 play allowed Adams County Christian School’s varsity baseball team to make its first appearance in the playoffs in a long time — 15 years, to be exact.

The reward for the ACCS Rebels’ long-awaited return to playing playoff baseball — a first-round playoff series against the District 3-5A champion and No. 1 seed Oak Forest Academy Yellow Jackets in the 2024 MAIS Class 5A South State Playoffs.

Game 1 of this best-of-three series took place on Tuesday at 6 p.m. at ACCS. Then Game 2 will take place at Oak Forest Academy in Amite, La. at 4:30 p.m. If there is a third and deciding game in the series, it will start 30 minutes after the completion of Game 2.

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“It’s going to be a great challenge. They’re excited for it. The team morale the last couple of weeks has been great,” Rebels head coach Jake Winston said. “We’re going to have to make the routine plays and we’re going to have to make all the little things correctly. We have to control what we have to control. We’re going to have to play hard for seven innings.”

Even though the Rebels entered the postseason with an overall record of 6-17, they finished strong in district play to 5-7 and, as Winston said last Friday morning, was just one win away from grabbing the No. 3 seed.

“They’re a really good team. There are a lot of great ball players in their club. They have a couple of guys who are signed to play at the next level. They have some really good pitchers. So, we’re going to see some good arms,” Winston said. “Overall, they’re just a really good ball club. They’re fundamentally sound. They play some small ball. They run the bases well.”

ACCS carries a lot of momentum on its side into the playoffs. The Rebels won the second game of a three-game series at home against Providence Classical Academy to clinch their first playoff berth since 2009. Then they took care of the Knights on the road 16-0 in four innings on Monday, April 15. Even in a 7-3 loss the next day at home to a good Class 4A Canton Academy team, Winston said he was thrilled with his team’s performance.

“Like I told the kids, whether you’re a 1 seed or a 20 seed, anything can happen at this time of year. If we play our kind of baseball, we can beat these guys,” Winston said.

Winston said for the Rebels to pull off the upset, they’re going to have to play their best baseball of the season.

“This was the toughest district in the (MAIS). They earned their district championship. It’s a great opportunity for us. The kids are excited for it. We’ll see how it goes,” Winston said.