By Gary Lloyd
For the third year in a row, Pinson Valley will host the first round of the Class 5A state baseball playoffs.
The No. 10 Indians (25-10, 6-1 Class 5A, Area 11) host Class 5A, Area 12 runner-up Walker on Friday at 4:30 p.m. and 7 p.m. An if-necessary game will be Saturday at 2 p.m.
“Any time you’re able to host the first round three years in a row, it’s an accomplishment for these guys,” said first-year Pinson Valley head coach Shane Chappell. “They’ve worked hard, and we’ve still got a long way to go to get to what we want to do.”
Pinson Valley claimed the area title Friday when it beat Moody 8-6. Senior Scott Falkinburg hit a pair of solo home runs, and Gracen Armstrong and Josh Hines each had two hits and two RBIs
. Sophomore Baker Hodge had two hits, one a bunt single that scored senior Tyler Evans to put Pinson Valley up 7-6 in the sixth inning.
Should Pinson Valley defeat Walker in the first round, it will face the winner of the Mortimer Jordan vs. Moody series next weekend. The Indians beat Walker 6-4 in February, a game highlighted by a Falkinburg two-run double in the seventh inning to give Pinson Valley the win. Falkinburg had three hits and three RBIs in that game, and Joseph Downing drove in two runs in the win.
“I know they’re going to be a lot better than what they were then, just like I hope we are,” Chappell said.
Chappell said playing at home in the playoffs adds a “comfort” and makes the atmosphere not seem as big.
“Really, (the mindset) doesn’t change,” Chappell said. “We try to approach every game the same.” “We’re not going to reinvent the wheel and try to do something crazy. When you get in the playoffs, it’s a brand new season. Anything goes.”
Contact Gary Lloyd at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter @GaryALloyd.