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story.lead_photo.caption Jenny Bearden and her son Brock hand out goody bags to the Pleasant Grove High School baseball team Tuesday at the school. The team will face Stephenville today in Austin for the semifinal round of the 4A state championship tournament. Submitted photo

TEXARKANA, Texas — Members of the Pleasant Grove Independent School District and Texarkana community held a send-off event for the PG High School baseball team on Tuesday morning, as they head to Austin to face Stephenville High in the semifinal round of the Class 4A state championship tournament.

This will be the first time Pleasant Grove High has played in the 4A state tournament since 2017. The school won the state title in 2010 and 2012, before returning as a 4A school in 2016 and again in 2017.

Head Coach Riley Fincher said he and his squad were more than appreciative of the support from the district and community as they departed.

"The atmosphere was great. It shows what type of special place Pleasant Grove is to work," Fincher said. "The amount of support that the school district and community shows our young men — not just our baseball program, but everyone involved in the school — is phenomenal."

The Hawks edged out Liberty-Eylau High in the Region II-4A final baseball series at Texas High's Tiger Field on Thursday.

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Fincher said the atmosphere at the ballpark when facing Liberty-Eylau was unparalleled.

"It was second to none," he said. "It was probably the best atmosphere I've ever been involved in, in high school baseball. To have two local teams playing for the opportunity to advance to state and getting to play that in your hometown in Texarkana was just amazing. These young men deserve all the notoriety they get, and it was definitely a showcase last week."

Execution will be key in the team's quest to bring home a state tile for the first time in nine years, Fincher said.

"We've got to come out and play a clean ball game," he said. "We've got to take advantage of the opportunities that we'll get offensively, and defensively, we've got to limit the number of opportunities they have. We have to continue to attack the game of baseball and be aggressive."

The Hawks will play Stephenville at 1 p.m. today at UFCU Disch-Falk Field.

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