The News Courier in Athens, Alabama

Local News 2

May 15, 2014

Ardmore players stick together from youth ball to 4A finals

— They’ve won Little League World Series, area tournaments and summer ball trophies. Ardmore’s 10 seniors have grown up winners. Today, they will have an opportunity to win their biggest trophy yet, at the AHSAA state baseball finals in Montgomery.

“Most of them, they’ve been together since they were 4 or 5 years old,” said Ardmore coach Andrew Smith. “Growing up, they’ve played together since Little League.”

Ardmore’s players have worked to get this to game since falling just short in the 4A semifinals last season against Brooks. Their long days in the summer and fall paid off last week when the Tigers beat Haleyville to advance to the school’s first baseball finals.

“I talked to them about it,” said Smith.“ “Right now, they don’t really understand yet. They’re just enjoying it. To be the first team to make it down (to Montgomery) is an honor.”

Smith said his team is approaching today’s series against defending champions Charles Henderson like any other. Ardmore left Wednesday night to prepare for today’s 4 p.m. game against the Trojans.

Ranked No. 1 in the final ASWA baseball poll, Charles Henderson beat Brooks in consecutive games to win the 2013 4A championship.

While the Trojans may be the more experienced side, Ardmore brings momentum in today’s game. The Tigers have gone 8-1 in the playoffs and won 12 of their last 13 games in the regular season.

Ardmore’s ace, Cody Reed, is the name baseball fans across the state know, but he isn’t the only pitcher capable of winning games. Garrett Miller, Cody Elliot and Brandon Jones round out a deep rotation for the Tigers.

“All of our pitchers have done well,” said Smith. “We’ve thrown four pitchers and they’ve all got it done for us. They all will have to be ready.”

Ironically, the only blip on Ardmore’s resume during the postseason came with Reed on the mound. The Vanderbilt commitment and sought after Major League Baseball prospect struck out 17 batters, but still suffered a 1-0 loss in a third game against Oneonta.

For Ardmore’s coaches, players and fans, it has been a good month to be part of the program. Win or lose today, Ardmore has already made history by making it to Montgomery.

“I’m just thankful for the support we’ve received across the county,” said Smith. “It’s something these guys will remember for the rest of their lives. We’re all rivals. but when one of us is doing well, everybody lends their support. It all goes back to that, 'We are Limestone' saying.”

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