They’ve been ranked No. 2 in the country throughout the season and they’re still on the hunt to prove that standing valid.
The Central Heights baseball team is entering the regional semifinals with a 26-3 record and have a father-son duo with one last shot to a state title.
The Blue Devils also have a squad of 14 seniors, with the majority playing together on varsity since they were freshmen. The regional semifinals is exactly where they thought they'd be.
“I'm not surprised at all. We all know how to play, play the game right, and play the game hard,” said senior Jackson Nichols.
“No doubt, from the beginning I saw us going this far and even further than this hopefully,” said senior Duke Ellis.
These seniors have won 96 games in their high school career and have a chance to reach the rare 100 win benchmark.
This year’s seniors have made the regional semifinals as freshmen and sophomores, but have yet to make it over this hump.
“We're finally back and expecting to go all the way this year,” said Nichols. “That's been the expectation all four years but this year is a pretty huge year since we're all seniors.”
“The approach I can tell you is a lot more relaxed and a lot more mature in practices. It's not work harder, it’s work smarter at this point,” said head coach Robert Ellis.
It's a last chance to state for the seniors but also a final shot in this playoff race for the father-son Ellis duo.
Robert and son Duke have had a rare experience of enjoying a passion for the game together for three years now, with still one thing on their minds they've yet to do.
“To have a chance to coach my son and get a state championship would be amazing,” said Robert.
“My last year with him, it's going to be tough to walk away from it but hopefully we can go out and leave it all on the field for each other and for the team,” said Duke.
Central Heights will play White Oak in the regional semifinals. It’s a one game playoff. The two will play Saturday at Driller Park in Kilgore. The game starts at 7 p.m.
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