Hawks flying high into playoffs - WRBL

Hawks flying high into playoffs

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COLUMBUS, Ga. -

The Hardaway Hawks are flying high as they begin play in the GHSA baseball playoffs, and they'd like to keep it that way.

Hardaway closed the regular season winning eight of the last nine, and will host Northgate in a best-of-three series beginning on Thursday.

"We have to continue to play Hardaway baseball," said head coach Chris Gilstrap. "Pitch like we've pitched all year long, timely hitting, play good defense. No doubt in my mind, if we pitch and play defense the way we have all year, good things are going to happen for us."

Gilstrap will send junior lefty CJ Brown to the hill in game one on Thursday. He's 9-0 on the year, and the team is confident behind him.

"It's been pretty loose," said senior centerfielder Justin Ellison. "We haven't been trying to stress out, just come out here and have fun, play baseball, do what we love to do."

For the team to go from sub-.500 last year to region 1-AAAAA champs this season is remarkable.

"We've been put through adversity," said junior catcher and team co-captain Josh Anthony. "We basically know how to stick together when things get going the wrong way, down the wrong path, so yeah, I'm glad to be here, and we can bring something home for Columbus."

Anthony cited the comfort the group has with each other, thanks in large part to a majority of the team playing travel ball together for years. That elicits a confidence that Gilstrap can see.

"They expect to win," he said. "They've won just about everywhere they've been, they're winners, and good kids. They play hard, they never give up, and that's the thing, we haven't had a lot of blowout wins."

First pitch for game one is scheduled for 2:00 p.m. EDT Thursday, with game two at 4:30 p.m. If necessary, game three would be Friday.

Jonathan Huskey

Jonathan comes to News 3 from Fort Smith/Fayetteville, Ark., where he anchored weekends and reported during the week on some of the best high school sports in the state. More>>

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