Playoff berth is only first step for Tigers

Published 8:39 pm Thursday, April 16, 2009

Chilton County baseball coach Josey Shannon is happy that his team today will make its first playoff appearance since 2003, but Shannon knows the accomplishment is part of the journey instead of the destination.

“We have realistic goals, and going to the playoffs was one of our goals,” said Shannon, who is in his first year on the job. “It’s a stepping stone, but it’s going to be a while before we get to where we want to. You just can’t grow a pine tree overnight.”

The playoff appearance should only speed up the process for a young group of Tigers (13-12, 6-2 area). CCHS has only four seniors, and, possibly as a result, mental focus has been the issue during an up-and-down season.

“We have the talent to compete,” Shannon said.

A couple of the underclassmen are the team’s two primary pitchers—junior Ben Handley and sophomore Chance Calloway—and Shannon said the hurlers are a team strength.

“I told the team early on that we would go as far as the pitching would carry us,” Shannon said.

The Tigers will need strong pitching against a potent Beauregard offense—part of the state’s No. 7 Class 5A team—when the two teams meet for a first-round playoff series beginning at 2 p.m. today. A decisive third game would be played Saturday at 1 p.m. if necessary.