Ariton, Long meet for third straight baseball semifinal

Ariton, Long meet for third straight baseball semifinal
Published: May. 8, 2023 at 10:50 PM CDT
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SKIPPERVILLE, Ala. (WTVY) -- The G.W. Long Rebels are on a quest to go back-to-back as baseball state champions. Continuing the winning tradition and adding to their 17 state championships.

“Sometimes winning can be contagious at times,” Long head coach Drew Miller said. “So, you know, we know that as why we think you know, that can be the case, we’re still a new team every year. This is a very different team than we’ve had in the past.”

Just about 15 minutes away, the Ariton Purple Cats are searching for their first baseball state championship as they won a big quarterfinal series against Pike Liberal Arts.

“Anytime you win, confidence is a good thing you know, to roll on to the next round,” said Ariton head coach Bob Pickett. “Seeing how they respond; I was proud of that. Challenged them that night to do that.”

The Purple Cats with a core who has started in both previous semifinals now face the team that has ruined their chances at a championship these past two years.

“I mean, we want to go out with a win, and I mean, it means the world getting to play them three times in a row and hopefully we’ll make it to the state championship this year,” said Ariton senior Connor Thrash.

“Most of these guys, we’ve played this game the past two years, so that really helps us out,” said Ariton senior Landon Tyler. “So, I don’t think the moment is too big for us, but it’s a big moment for all of us and we’re ready to get going.”

This G.W. Long team is looking to add to their record 17 championships.

“I obviously love this place,” said Long senior Grant Watson. “I mean, it’s a great place the fans here are great and hopefully we make that last one rememberable. It’d definitely feel good to get another state championship. It’d feel good to go back-to-back.”

A new generation of Rebels look to continue the success.

“It’s a lot to take in, but we know the legacy of this school and we just strive to fulfill that legacy every day in practice, and it just feels great to actually have a chance to do it,” said Long freshman Blayne Wood.

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