Thursday, April 20, 2006
Byhalia baseball back in playoffs
By BARRY BURLESON
The Byhalia Indians are going to the state playoffs for the third straight year.
Coach Bubba Brown’s crew, despite the return of just three starters from last season, will enter the opening round of Class 3A tournament play Thursday at Water Valley. Their first opponent in the four-team, double-elimination event was undecided at press-time. Only one of the four advances after the weekend.
The 2006 version of the Indians (7-10 overall, 4-4 district) features just one senior, center fielder Jeremy Lucas. Coach Brown is starting six sophomores.
“This is a very young team, but we’ve played some really good baseball,” Brown said. “Getting to the playoffs is a really big step for this group. We played a tough schedule.
“And I believe we will do well this week. We stand as good of a shot as anybody in this (four-team) tournament.”
The toughest of the four may be the host school. Water Valley’s lineup features nine seniors.
“Getting by Water Valley will be a big hurdle for anybody,” Brown said.
The strength of the Byhalia club is speed.
“We’ve stolen a bunch of bases this year,” Brown said. “We like to run.”
A key to success in the playoffs will be hitting.
“When our bats are on, we’re doing well,” he said. “We’ve been streaking with the bats.
“Defensively, we played average to above average.”
From the mound, Byhalia will rely on the arms of sophomores Dean Miller and Brandon Byars and juniors Dee Moore and Montrell Hardaway.
Just one year ago, the Indians advanced all the way to the North State championship round before being ousted by Senatobia in the last game of the three-game series.
“It’s good to be back in the playoffs,” Brown said. “And we didn’t luck our way in. I’ve been impressed with this young baseball team.”
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