AUSTIN — Pleasant Grove has the history. Stephenville has the hot streak.
The Hawks and Yellowjackets clash in the state UIL Class 4A state semifinals today at 1 p.m. at UFCU Disch-Falk Stadium.
PG (33-8) is making its 10th appearance in the state tournament, including its ninth since 2008.
The Yellowjackets' last loss was to the Graham Steers, 8-4, back on March 27 to make Stephenville's record 10-8-1. They've rattled off 18 wins in a row — 10 straight in the playoffs — since then to clinch the first state tournament appearance for the Yellowjackets (28-8-1).
"Stephenville is very similar to us," Pleasant Grove head coach Riley Fincher said. "They're playing with a lot of confidence right now; they like to run and be aggressive in the bases, their pitchers fill up the zone and they play defense behind them.
"I am expecting a game like the ones we got from Liberty-Eylau in the regional finals, where it was a fight until the final out."
Sinton (33-4) and Rusk (27-7) meet in the 4 p.m. semifinal, and today's winner advances to the 4A championship game at 6:30 p.m. Thursday.
"I can't say that I am surprised that we are here," Fincher said about qualifying for the state tournament. "Every year our goal is to get better every day during the season and to finish with two wins in Austin. We respect each and every one of our opponents, but those are the expectations we put on ourselves."
The Hawks have a plethora of arms to start, but will likely go with Blake Jennings, Alex Galvan or Tucker Anderson. Cason Head will be at catcher.
Galvan or Anderson will be at first base, Brenton Clark or Josh Brown at second, JM Long at shortstop, and Alex Murphy at third.
In the outfield, Hayden Koller plays left, Galvan or Clark in center and Brock Bearden in right. Traveler Couch will be the designated hitter.
"Our guys have been swinging the bats well throughout the playoffs, and our pitching staff has settled in and know their roles," Fincher said. "We've got a lot of guys for different situations. Our defense continues to get better every day.
"Nothing has been easy this season with the restrictions placed on everyone. This group has continued to fight together and are playing for each other."
The Hawks are 10-2 in the playoffs, including winning their last six.