SAND HILLS/SNEADS, Fla. (WJHG/WECP) - For one area team, the trip is on. Another will sleep in their own beds Monday night and hit the road Tuesday.
The former is the Bozeman Bucks. Coach Jeff Patton and his team getting in one last workout before packing up the bus Monday afternoon and heading for Fort Myers. That's where the Bucks, at 27-2, will take on 13-10 Chiefland Wednesday in the 1A baseball state semifinals. Bozeman still looking for that first state title, but this is not the first time they've been to the finals, so there is a template for coach Patton to follow.
"It's been a few years, three years, but yeah four times in eight years." coach Patton told us Monday after practice. "You know me and the coaching staff have kind of been together, we've got an idea of a plan of what we want to do. When we went in 2016, we thought the routine was good even though we didn't win. I think we played about as good as we could. We played Chiefland then. They were excellent, but we gave them everything they could want. We lost in extra innings, but we liked the routine then. So, we're gonna have something to eat here and then get out on the bus. The kids will sleep on the bus, get there about three or four in the morning, let them get a little rest and then we'll get up and practice."
As for Sneads, the Pirates won't head south until Tuesday.
Coach Andy Shelton and his team will have a final home workout this afternoon. The district two runner up is getting two road playoff wins to 20-8, and a berth in the state semifinals against 19-9 Williston. This the first ever berth for Sneads in the state finals, which is especially pleasing given the trials the Pirates have been through in the wake of the storm.
"It brought everybody together," Coach Shelton told us Monday, "and just seeing the community and other communities come together and bond together to make it to where these young men and young women could play a sport that they love is a great thing. To see people come out and work on stuff to let them do that is just a great honor to be a part of."
The Sneads game will be 10 a.m. eastern Wednesday. The Bozeman game set for 1 p.m. eastern. Joel Sebastianelli is traveling with the teams, and will have updates before and after their semifinal games Wednesday.
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