Wildcats on the verge of historyPublished 4:41pm Monday, May 6, 2013
A history-making program is poised to further their legacy. Edgewood Academy, since the turn of the century has played in eight championship games. On Tuesday, they’ll have a chance to go for No. 9 as they take on Eufaula’s Lakeside School.
Class A championship doubleheader begins Tuesday afternoon at 3.
“It’s incredible, to accomplish the things we’ve accomplished,” said Bobby Carr, coach of the top-ranked Edgewood Wildcats. “This is a special group and they all have individual goals way outside of playing on the high school level. And I think that says a lot about our success.”
The Wildcats bring a 42-3 mark into Tuesday game. Lakeside, after a never-ending series with Patrician, comes to the game 20-10.
“We kept getting rained out,” said Allen Ponder, first-year Chiefs coach. “Finally we moved the series to Tuscaloosa Academy because there was no chance of rain in the forecast.”
The Chiefs swept the Saints to advance to the championship final.
“It’s going to be a very tough match-up for us,” said Ponder. “I believe that Edgewood is one of the best teams, public school or private, in the state of Alabama. Bobby is a great coach and this is going to be a very tough series.”
While Carr and Ponder have never tangled with Ponder a chief, the two have met multiple times when he was Lee-Scott’s skipper.
“They are a scrappy team,” Carr said of the Chiefs. “And having Allen Ponder in the dugout makes them that much more dangerous.”
For the Chiefs, the trip to Paterson Field is their first since 2000.
For the Wildcats, it’s their fifth straight. Edgewood established a bit of a dynasty in Class AA winning titles in 2009, 2010, 2011 and 2012. The quartet of crowns pairs them with the now-defunct Demopolis Academy who won championships in 1985 and 1986 (Class AA), 1987 and 1988 (Class A).
“That’s what I remind our kids, to sit back and cherish the moment and look what we’ve done,” said Carr. “A lot of our fans tell me: ‘I’m not going to come see you play until you’re in the championship.’ But our fans are lucky to have a team that’s been this successful. There are a lot of schools who would love to be in this situation. And these kids have done it and have put the school on the map. I’m hoping we go out with a bang, just like we have the past four years.”
Not only has the Wildcats amassed crowns, they’ve also amassed wins 162 of them (only 15 losses), with two more on the line at Paterson Field, over the past four seasons.
The Wildcats will throw undefeated senior Bailey Hansen in the first game against Lakeside’s senior Max Winkleblack.
“He’s thrown the first game of every series for us,” said Ponder. “I know they are going to put the ball in play, but I expect him to get out there and battle and trust the defense behind him.”
Hansen will turn around and catch game two where Samford-bound senior Gage Pregno will take the bump.
“This pairing has worked for us and I really like it,”said Carr.
Ponder – who said his best pitcher has been remanded to shortstop while playing through a tweaked elbow – will run either Will Gibson or Drew Price to the bump.
“Our kids know what’s at stake,” said Carr. “You can see a difference in practice from Sunday to Monday. We’ve found our focus.”