The News Courier in Athens, Alabama

Local News 2

May 9, 2014

Ardmore looks to make history

ARDMORE — Ardmore’s baseball team is two wins away from making history. The Tigers will play Haleyville this afternoon with an opportunity to advance to the school’s first state finals appearance.

Unlike last season, Ardmore hasn’t snuck up on anyone in 2014. Ranked among the top teams in 4A since February, the Tigers have continued to win despite a target on their back throughout the playoffs.

They’ve done so with a consistent hitting throughout the lineup and a couple of pitchers named Cody.

Everyone knows about Ardmore’s ace, Cody Reed, but it was another Cody who made the difference in the rubber-match against Oneonta Saturday.

After sweeping Randolph and North Jackson in the first two rounds, it was the first time Ardmore needed its third pitcher in a playoff series.

Ardmore coach Andrew Smith knew exactly who that pitcher would be.

“I knew all along who we wanted to go with,” said Smith. “I asked the guys on Friday, ‘Would anybody like to take a guess who we’ll pitch on Saturday?’

Cody Elliot raised his hand. He knew in the back of his mind, he would be the guy.”

Elliot, who had missed nearly a month with a sore arm, pitched five innings before giving way to Brandon Jones. Jones struck out six of the seven batters he faced to earn the save in a 9-7 victory.

The win proved the Tigers are more than just one player entering today’s fourth-round playoff series with Haleyville.

It was quite the opposite against Oneonta. Ardmore lost its opening game in the series 1-0, due to an error in a run-down. It was only the second game this season the team lost with Reed on the mound.

“As soon as it ended, they were down,” said Smith. “If you get beat 1-0 like that, that’s only natural. Thirty minutes later, they were ready to go. You have to forget it and go back and win two (games). They just battled. It says a lot about them.”

This will be Ardmore's second consecutive season to play in a semifinal playoff series and third all time. The seniors have played in more playoff games than any other team in school history.

“The experience that they’ve been through the past couple of years will definitely help,” said Smith. “As soon as last year ended, they set their goal to get back. They put in work since last May to get here. They worked extremely hard to get back.”

First pitch for today’s double-header at Haleyville is 5 p.m. A third-game, if necessary, would be 1 p.m. Saturday.

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