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Dallas County ready to host playoffs

Dallas County clinched the Area 4 championship with a 10-0 win over Livingston on Thursday.

Now, with the title in hand, the Hornets can shift their focus to a home playoff matchup on Friday. According to third-year Dallas County coach Ty Riggins, it is the first time since 2002 that the Hornets (14-6) won the area and hosted a playoff game.

The Hornets finished as the area runner-up in 2007 and did not make the playoffs last year. But, Riggins has sensed a change since his arrival.

“There’s been more importance stressed as far as, you’ve got to have goals set when you start the season,” said Riggins. “Everybody’s goal should be to make the playoffs, and of course that ultimate goal is to win the state championship.”

A large part of Dallas County’s turnaround can be placed on the shoulders of pitcher Dylan Shelby. The Jefferson State Community College signee pitched four no-hitters — including three consecutive — and a perfect game this season. He carries a four-to-one strikeout-to-walk ratio and has given up no more than four hits in any appearance.

“Since I’ve been here, we’ve been fortunate to have some good baseball players.” Said Riggins.

The Hornets begin the playoffs with a doubleheader against either Thomasville or Clarke County. Both teams are tied for first place in Area 1, and the champion will be determined by their games on Friday. Thomasville has a doubleheader with Hillcrest and Clarke County plays its final region game against Andalusia.

The start time has not been determined, but Because Dallas County’s field does not have lights, Riggins believes that first pitch will be at 1 p.m. with a 4 p.m. game to follow.