Warriors two wins away from 2A State title
The Lakeside Warriors are right where they want to be.
Tonight at 7 p.m. at Fair Grounds Field, the Warriors will play in a semi-final playoff game. If they win, Lakeside will play in Saturday's Class 2A State Championship Game.
"It's a big event," Lakeside coach Bob Gray said. "We're excited and they're excited. This could very well turn into one of the biggest things I've been involved in. Over the years we've been to these type of gatherings quite a bit, and this one has the opportunity to be the biggest one I've ever been around."
Lakeside will play Calvary Baptist at 7 p.m. in one semi-final game, and Evangel and Dunham will play in the other at 4 p.m.
The Lakeside Warriors will play the Calvary Baptist Cavaliers in the Class 2A semi-finals today at 7 p.m. at Fair Grounds Field in Shreveport.
There is a very good chance that the Warriors will have to beat two District 1-2A teams to win the championship. Lakeside was 0-4 against those teams this year.
"I think that speaks a lot of the quality of the baseball we play in this area," Gray said. "We like to talk about the caliber of our competition makes us better, and it does. But it's not just on game day that it makes us better. It makes us better during the summer when we're preparing for the next spring, it makes us better in those six weeks when you practice, but you don't have a ball game in sight. Because our kids know it's coming, they prepare for it and it makes us better."
The Warriors head into tonight's game with a 25-10 record, but they did have some ups and downs this season.
"Baseball teams go in cycles," Gray said. "They play real well for a while, and then they go to the bottom of the cycle and they don't play so well. Then they will go back to the top of the cycle. The last two weeks of the season, we were hitting the bottom side of our cycle."
The Warriors' play worried Gray.
"I was worried that we were out of gas," Gray said. "And it looked like we were going to throw away everything we had done because we couldn't get to the finish line. But now it appears that we're back to the top of our cycle and since the playoffs started, we've played some of our best baseball of the year."
The Cavaliers beat the Warriors 6-4 and 17-6 in their two meetings, but that doesn't quell Gray's confidence in his team.
"Calvary has a lot of talent," Gray said. "They have tons of talent. But I think we have something that they don't. There's something about this team, they have tremendous resiliency and mental toughness."
That mental toughness and resiliency comes from playing together and believing in each other.
"The nucleus of this team is seniors," Gray said. "They have been playing together since seventh grade, and maybe earlier. This group just has a mental toughness about them, and a lot of kids don't have that. They bounce back and they can take a licking and keep on ticking. It's just one of those things that amaze me about this team."
Gray doesn't want his team to feel like they have anything to prove tonight.
"I told the kids not to bow their heads to anybody from here on out," he said. "I told them that no team has done any more than we have to get here, and they understood that."
Gray knows that his team will be looked at as the underdog tonight, and if they get that far, in the title game, but that doesn't phase him.
"I told them to not be disappointed if it doesn't happen," Gray said. "But I told them to prepare themselves if it does happen. Either way these kids are winners in my book. They write movies about situations like this, so let's go write a movie."