TYLER, Texas — Atlanta is in the Region II-3A semifinals for the second straight postseason — after COVID-19 canceled all of the 2020 UIL playoffs for spring sports.
The Rabbs reached the fourth round of the baseball playoffs in 2019 and are back, this time facing Grandview in a best-of-3 series starting today at Mike Carter Field in Tyler, Texas. First pitch is set for 7 p.m.
Game 2 will be at 4:30 p.m. Thursday at Whitehouse's Wildcat Field, and should a third game be needed, the Rabbits (22-8) and Zebras (28-6-1) will be back at Mike Carter Field for a 4 p.m. game Friday.
"I've been really pleased with the way our kids have been able to handle some tough situations this postseason," Atlanta head coach David Hooten said. "I wouldn't mind if we swung the bats a little better early in games; we seem to really get the offense going the second and third time through the lineup.
"They've done a real good job with situational hitting. Our pitchers throw strikes, work ahead in the count and we play solid defense behind them."
The Rabbs rallied from an opening 4-2 loss to Harmony in the regional quarterfinal round to win 10-9 in 8 innings and 3-1 in the rubber game.
Grandview swept Boyd, 4-3 and 11-2.
Jackson Warren, Kelby Smith and Randall Mason each started a game last week for Atlanta, and Cooper McClure pitched four innings of relief in the 8-inning second game. Depending on whom will be on the mound, Ty Graf catches for the Rabbs, Mason or Brennan Gaston will be at first, Warren or Smith at second, McClure at shortstop, and Smith or Dex Ebarb at third. In the outfield, Nick Burden plays right, Kale starts in center and Will Woodruff in left. Ebarb also is a designated hitter.
"We've only got three veterans back from the 2019 team that played four rounds deep," Hooten said. "Those guys have provided good leadership, and we've had others who have matured and grown right in front of us. We're kinda a group that relies on the next man up, and we've had guys step up for us in a lot of different ways."
The winner advances to play either Gunter or Elysian Fields in the regional finals next week.