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Baseball: Eagles wait for next foe

By Richard Greene | Published Saturday, May 27, 2017
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Bryce Elder figured to be on his way to the coast Friday to board a cruise ship with several members of his recently graduated Class of 2017.

Instead, the Decatur hurler was on the field preparing for next week’s Class 4A Region II final.

“Right now, it sounds fun to be on a cruise ship, but there’s no doubt this is worth it,” Elder said. “We’re going to try to enjoy it and hopefully we’ll win again so people that are on the cruise can come watch us at state.”

The Eagles are one step away from their first trip to Austin.

After their 2-0 victory Wednesday over Gilmer in the region semifinal, the Eagles are now waiting to see who they will play for a spot at the state tournament. Texarkana Pleasant Grove beat Argyle 6-1 in the opening game of their region semifinal series Thursday. The two will play game two Saturday in Tyler with a third game to follow, if necessary. Decatur gets the winner.

“I’ll do whatever at this point,” said Decatur coach Brian Tickell about the wait. “We get to practice and shore some things up offensively and defensively.”

Through the playoffs, Decatur has played solid on defense. In nine postseason games, the Eagles have committed 13 errors. Opposing teams have turned those miscues into only seven unearned runs.

On the other hand, Decatur has made opposing teams pay for mistakes. The Eagles have scored 19 unearned runs in the playoffs. Decatur turned an error with two outs in the bottom of the fifth against Gilmer Wednesday into the game’s only two runs when Trey Penny tripled.

Decatur has also worked 53 walks in the past nine games with 31 of those runners reaching by walks or being hit by a pitch coming around to score.

“I don’t know if it’s luck or the will to win. I think it’s the latter,” Tickell said about his team’s ability to capitalize on mistakes. “They compete every day in practice. They are driven to never give up and take advantage of every opportunity.”

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