The Valwood Valiants know they have a second chance at a state baseball title, and they want to take advantage of it this weekend.
Valwood will take on the team that beat them for the state title a season ago, Deerfield-Windsor, for the GISA Class AAA state championship in Milledgeville.
The biggest difference in this year's team and last year's? Head coach Robert Shipman says it's all about attitude.
"They're more business-like," he says.
The Valiants hope that workman's attitude will lead them to the state title that eluded them last year.
As easy a storyline as the rematch is, the players say they aren't looking at this series as a shot at revenge.
"You can't have that in your mind when you play baseball," says senior 2B Ben Browning. "You have to do your job, and think about what you need to get done to win that game."
"We forgot about [last year's result] within weeks because we were on the wrong end of it," laughs Shipman. "We're just about doing what we know we can do and how they can do it, and pulling for each other."
The Valiants and Knights have met twice this season already as region foes. They split the series a game apiece. Valwood says they know how good DWS is, and what they must do to get two more wins.
"We're going to have to have some timely hitting. They have three or four guys in their lineup who are really special. We're going to have to pitch to them well," says Shipman. "There's no way around it. I'm not expecting a 2-1 or 1-0 game. We're going to have to score some runs."
The Valiants meet the Knights for the state championship in a best-of-three series beginning Friday at Georgia College's John Kurtz Field in Milledgeville. Game 1 is Friday night at 7:30. Game 2 is Saturday at 11:00 a.m. Game 3 will be Saturday night if necessary.
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