By Jonathan Deal
Three local teams will begin postseason play Friday, April 19, in the AHSAA baseball playoffs. Athens Bible and Ardmore will host first-round playoff games while West Limestone hits the road for its first-round game.
After beating rival Shoals Christian for an area title last week, Class 1A No. 1 Athens Bible (26-2) will entertain Tharptown Friday beginning at 1:30 p.m. The second game will begin at approximately 3:45 p.m. If the teams split games Friday, the rubber-match will begin at 1 p.m. Saturday.
Should ABS advance Friday, it could set up a second-round playoff series rematch with No. 2 Shoals Christian on Friday, April 26.
Ardmore (17-6) will be making its third consecutive trip to the playoffs with a home game against North Jackson Friday. The two games at Ardmore will begin at 5 p.m. and 7 p.m. If a Saturday game is needed, it will also begin at 1 p.m.
The Tigers got a tune-up from a fellow 4A playoff-bound team Monday afternoon in West Limestone. Ardmore head coach Andrew Smith said they scheduled the game late in the season to see a quality opponent before his team begins postseason play.
“That’s why we wanted to play somebody like West Limestone for the last regular season game before Friday,” said Smith. “We haven’t played them (North Jackson) this year, but I know they have several good players.”
Ardmore was eliminated the past two seasons by Deshler, which went on to make deep runs in the playoffs. With an improved group of pitchers led by junior ace Cody Reed, Smith is confident Ardmore can make a run this season.
“Our goal is to take it one game at a time, (and) hopefully one win at a time,” said Smith. “We’ll see what happens after that. We can’t look ahead. We set goals, and we have high expectations to go pretty deep this year.”
West Limestone faces a tough task Friday in the first round against No. 4 Brooks (31-6). First pitch from Killen begins at 4:30 p.m. The teams will play at noon Saturday, if a third game is needed.