Down the stretch

Published 12:00 am Friday, April 27, 2007

Lowndes Academy, AISA baseball teams begin playoffs

By George L. Jones

The Selma Times-Journal

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From the outside looking in, Lowndes Academy looks like a scary opponent going into today’s AISA baseball playoffs.

If anyone has the talent to advance to the state tournament, it’s the Rebels.

But their 27-11 record and 2A Region 2 Area 1 championship overshadows one flaw that has nagged them this season: errors.

“Our defense has been stinky at times,” coach John Gluschick said. “Maybe in the past we’d have pretty much had a set lineup by now. But we’re 38 games into the year, and I’m wondering who can get the job done at certain positions. Luckily, we can hit the ball and run the bases pretty well.”

Here’s how things have been going for the Rebels this season. They kicked the ball around and gave a pair of games away to Crenshaw Christian, two of their few losses to a 2A school all year. Monday, they took a two-game sweep over 3A Edgewood, the No. 3 team in the state.

Therein lies the scary part for Lowndes. The wrong team could show up this weekend, and a chance at the state title could be lost.

But it’s not all bad news for the Rebels. They may have saved their best games for the most crucial point of the season.

“We’ve won six games in a row, and we might be peaking right now,” Gluschick said. “At one time in the year we won 14 straight and then had a couple of setbacks against bigger schools.”

One concern for Gluschick is how he will use catcher/pitcher Bradley Adams, who’s been at full speed for about three weeks after tearing a knee ligament during football season.

“We’ve got a sophomore behind Bradley that doesn’t have as good an arm, but can receive just as well,” Gluschick said. “Bradley doesn’t have a full year of baseball under his belt. I don’t want to throw him Game 2 after catching Game 1.”

T.J. Mills, who has been the team’s best pitcher all year, will carry a big load this postseason.

“T.J. has been the one throwing in all the big games,” Gluschick said. “He’s 5-3, and all three of his losses are to 3A schools. He lives for playoff time. I’d take my chances on him any day.”