Kennard, Garrison looking to avenge losses in ‘21 state tournament
ROUND ROCK, Texas (KTRE) - Kennard and Garrison baseball teams are in Round Rock looking to both avenge losses in the 1A and 2A 2021 state finals.
Kennard will open up the state tournament semifinals on Wednesday morning at 9 a.m. against Nazareth at 9 a.m. If Kennard can win they will play either Abbott or D’Hanis in the 1A Championship, Thursday morning at 9 a.m.
Last year the Tigers lost to Fayetteville in the championship game. The team is rested and ready to go. For the past week they have been practicing since their region III championship ended on May 28.
“We have had our best practices of the year lately,” coach Blake Wallace said. “We are looking sharp. We are hitting the ball really hard. I think we are ready.”
This is the first year as head coach of the Tigers for Wallace. Wallace was part of several competitive Douglass teams that went to three-straight regional championship teams.
“I would tell them to relax and do what you have been doing,” Wallace said. “Relax and don’t try to force anything. Do what baseball gives you.”
Even though the team has been here before they have nerves but they also know what to expect the second time around.
“Of course I am nervous but I am lose,” pitcher Dylan Cole said. “We just have to relax and go out there and play our game and not let anything get to us.”
In the 2A bracket, the No.1 ranked Garrison Bulldogs will take on undefeated Shiner in the semifinals at 7 p.m. Wednesday night. The winner will play the winner of Valley Mills or New Home. Last year the Bulldogs lost to New Deal in the 2A championship game.
It has been the goal of Garrison to get back to state. They have had four good years of baseball and this could be the culmination of hard work. The team has broke every pre-game huddle with the yelling of “State Champs”
“It put more motivation than pressure on us,: Garrison DH Chalon Driver said. “There was some pressure trying to get back here. I think it was mostly motivation. "
Last year Garrison relied on their pitching to carry them to the state tournament. The team lost their two stud pitchers in Tyler Spivey and Dayton Dewberry. With pitching a concern early, Garrison made an effort to improve at the plate and now the team is hitting .440 heading into the two biggest games of the year.
“It was frustrating because we tried our best all [last] year,” first baseman Hunter Crews said. “This year we wanted to come back and be stronger.”
As the season has gone on the pitching depth for the Bulldogs has gotten better and with temperatures in Round Rock expected to reach near triple digits this week, the team will need all arms on deck.
“We were wondering where we were going to be pitching wise with losing our two pitching studs from last year,” head coach Dempsey Compton said. “The guys have stepped up and we have four to six guys that we feel very comfortable with putting on the mound at any time. "
Full Tournament information can be found here.
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