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’04 favors Titans in Selma

Past history indicates that with this being an even number year, the chances of the West Alabama Prep Titans winning another baseball state championship under head coach Walker Reynolds is exceptionally good.

Of the four state championships under Reynolds, two have come in an even number year (1998, 2002), two in an odd number year

(1997, 2001). But the difference was how the Titans won.

For some reason, odd number years don’t favor heavily for the Titans. Since taking over the WAP baseball program in 1997, Reynolds has led the Titans to Selma six times, winning four state championships in five previous appearances. Of those five appearances, only one resulted in coming home empty handed, and that was in an odd number year.

But there is more to it than that. When we look at how the Titans have won previous state championships we see that two were clean sweeps, while two were won battling from behind out of the losers bracket.

In both 1998 and 2002, the Titans swept through Selma in three games. But in both 1997 and 2001, the Titans fell in their opening game of the tournament and had one nerve-racking journey from behind to win it all in five games.

So with this being an even number year, the analysis is simple. The Titans will sweep out the tournament in three games and easily win another state championship?

“If only it were that simple,” Reynolds said.

Well perhaps it could be a bit more difficult than that, but at least the Titans go into Thursday’s game knowing what they’re in for. The Titans have drawn the Abbeville Generals for game one on Thursday, the same Generals that they faced in 2001, 2002 and 2003.

“There a very tough team,” Reynolds said. “There pretty much the same team they were last year.

The Titans swept the Generals in two game s in 2001, stole the trophy from them again in 2002, but in 2003 (another odd year), the Titans were shown the way home by the Generals as they went two-and-out in the tournament. But that shouldn’t be the case in 2004, not with the Titans bullpen, and not with Titans experience and strength of schedule.

“I feel pretty confident that this team is prepared for almost anything that comes their way,” Reynolds said. “We’ve played 34 games this season, most of which were with 3A opponents. We’ve seen as good as pitching as we’re going to see. And I know that I’m not going to not have enough pitching.”

With as many as six pitchers (another even number), three starters and three closers, the Titans have enough arms to get five wins if need be, but could easily get the job done in three with a little help at the plate.

Senior Kevin May leads the list of WAP pitching talents with a record of 7-2 and will likely get the start in game one come Thursday. Senior Shane Hilchey (4-3) comes in as the No. 2 man on the hill for the Titans, with lefty Nick Laduron (5-1) being the No. 3.

On the other end of the bullpen is closer Joe Magro with five saves this season, as well as junior Cody Key (1-3) and senior Chad Seale (2-1).

If history does repeat itself though, and the titans clinch another state championship in three straight games, just remember where you heard it first.