Sand Hills, FL--It is to say the least the biggest game in the history of Bozeman baseball. Coach Patton and his guys, at 21-7 are currently preparing for a trip to Port St. Lucie over the weekend, where Monday they'll take on another Panhandle school, Holmes in the 1-A state semfinals! This the first trip ever to the state finals for the relatively young Bucks program.
"We've been close a couple times," says Bozeman Head Coach Jeff Patton "and you kind of get that feeling is it ever gonna happen. You know you get a special group of kids, you get a little run of bad luck and you don't quite get there. Some people go their whole career and never get there. This is our 7th year here and we've got an opportunity, and it's what we've been shooting for, we thought our team was good enough. It means a lot, it's the goal for me coaching."
Naturally when any group of players accomplishes a "first" like this group of Bucks have, you wonder if they fully appreciate what it is they are doing?
"Yeah I think they got an idea," says Patton "and the people around school are so excited for 'em. We're trying to bring 'em back down when we get them out here. Everyone's patting them on the back and congratulating them. They're going we must have done something pretty special.
"Oh we're excited, we're ready." says Bozeman catcher Zach Rowell. "It's the first time we've ever gotten here. We're just ready to play, we feel like we've got just as good a chance to win a state title as anybody else that goes down there."
As for how to prepare, how to travel, well coach Patton's not taking all that on by himself!
"Yeah I"m talking to some friends in the coaching within the coaching community, not just baseball, even in basketball. I've got some really good friends who've, they've sent a lot of congratulations, and what to expect. We've traveled before, not to the final four, but we've gone on road trips. We take the team every spring break. And when I was in high school we made a trip to the final four, so I've kind of got a little bit of an idea."
The coach mentioned a big field, the finals will be played at the Mets spring training home in Port St. Lucie.
It's the kind of place that just might be a little intimidating to these Bucks.
"Getting into that Digital Domain Park down there, I think when the kids first walk out there , their eyes may go up. So we're gonna get them out there the day before , you know before we play so they can kind of get a feel for it, see all the sights and then maybe we won't be so awestruck when we get ready for game time."
We'll visit with 24-3 Holmes Thursday night.