There are 33 teams in the Big Country that are size Class 2A or larger, all of which had aspirations of winning a state title. Now, only one remains. The Albany Lions, after going a perfect 8-0 in the playoffs, are just two victories away from reaching the promise land, the state tournament.
Head Coach David Fairchild said, “We’ve had a great 1-2 punch in West and Neve and we’ve been fortunate enough to get by in two games and anytime you can do that it’s a good deal.”
The ride to the Regional Finals for the Lions started with a sweep over rival Cross Plains. Albany swept McCamey in the Area Round and eliminated rival Haskell in the Regional Quarterfinals. Last week, the Lions brought out the brooms to sweep away Hale Center back to Lubbock. The only team standing in Albany’s way from state are the Lions of New Deal.
Fairchild said, “We’ve done a great job through our playoff run and we’ve just come out and play and I’ve told our boys we’re facing a good team and we’re a good team too and we’ve just got to come and out and be ready to go.”
Ben West said, “A lot of it is our chemistry, we’re not the strongest team, we’re not the fastest team, we’re not the best hitting team, we don’t have the best pitchers, but I think we’ve got a very well-rounded chemistry in the locker room and in the dugout, I think that’s a huge key in any team sport.”
Josh Dyer said, “We’ve always got guys keeping each other’s heads up, talking to each other through the game so we keep each other going. I’m very proud of the young guys who have stepped up.”
Albany Baseball is the last team standing and they don’t plan on taking a seat on their couches anytime soon.
Ben West said, “If you can go five rounds deep in football, two rounds deep in basketball, that definitely carries over into the next sport each time you’re successful and I think our community definitely goes behind us for that. The more sports we’re successful in, the more they’re behind us in and that really pushes us a lot.”
Fairchild said, “We may be the last ones standing but there are a lot of good baseball teams in this Big Country.”