Chipley hits the road with baseball title the hopeful destination
PANAMA CITY, Fla. (WJHG/WECP) -The trip is on for a pair of area 1A teams, trips they both hope will end with a state title! Both Chipley and Holmes qualifying for the state finals in Fort Myers and both heading south Monday. Let’s focus on the Tigers here. Coach Andy Compton and his guys finishing the regular season at 16-7, they won two games on the way to the district three title. And then beat Port St. Joe 2-1 in their first round playoff game. And followed that up with a 3-1 win at Bozeman Saturday night. That put them into a very quick turnaround in preparing for Wednesday’s 1A state semifinal against Newberry down in Fort Meyers. So the team packing up and heading that way at noon today. The Tigers 20-7, and riding an 8 game winning streak heading south, I spoke with the coach about that Monday as he and the guys rode south!
”We started playing a lot better defense.” coach Compton told me as the team bus rolled east on I-10. “And our pitchers have kind of kept us in games all year. We’ve pitched really well all year. And then our bats got going a little bit, we scored some runs. And you know it just gets down to this time of year it’s kind of, you’ve got to maintain on the mound, don’t walk people. And I think we’ve done that pretty well, from a few weeks ago. We struggled at the plate, didn’t play the well defensively and I think that just kind of jump started us a little bit.”
Having been to state just two seasons ago, when the Tigers finished as state runner up, is certainly helping this time around, especially given the 1A teams were forced to travel just two days after their region championship games.
“That’s a big thing, we’ve kind of had a plan you know two years ago.” coach Compton said. “And we went in 2014. We kind of know what’s going on and what’s going to happen when we get there and I think it’s a plus. We’re certain we’ve got somewhere to practice. We’re going to practice on the way down there today and practice tomorrow (Tuesday). And you know getting there and getting comfortable and stuff like that. I guess the worst part this year is the quick turnaround.”
In previous years recently teams got four or five days between the region final and having to travel. The Tigers still playing for that first baseball state championship, they were the runner up in 21 and back in 2014, perhaps the third time for coach Compton and company will be the charm. Certainly a very tough early season schedule this season could be a big reason why the Tigers are making this trip.
“Right now it’s hard to schedule games. And you know early on we went to Pike Liberal Arts and played them, Hopeville, they are playing for a state championship in 5A in Alabama you know this week. Brookstone Prep up there in Columbus, Georgia, you know it was very very good. And it kind of helped us just prepare earlier in the year to get that footing and seeing that pitching that you may see down the road. And you know it’s just a confidence builder you know if you can play well against those teams.”
Chipley’s game against Newberry, the team that beat them in the title game two years ago, is set for 10 a.m. eastern at Hammond Stadium. Holmes, the defending 1A state champs, will take on Lafayette Wednesday at 1 eastern time. More with the Blue Devils on Tuesday.
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