Ailing Bulldogs to host TCC

Published 11:21 pm Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Kevin Bryd gave his team a bit of a breather Monday afternoon, just two days removed from its 14-13 triumph over No. 2 Holy Spirit.

“I think we’re physically tired after this last series,” Byrd said of his team following the three-game, two-day set with the Titans.

In that series, each team scored 34 runs. The Bulldogs took game one 15-13 before falling in game two 8-5.

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Adding to the general exhaustion Byrd’s players endured were the various physical ailments with which the squad was wrestling.

“In the rubber game, we started two seniors and one junior,” Byrd said of the results of a rash of injuries that struck his team at an inopportune time.

Saturday’s series-clinching game brought with it another key loss as catcher Eric Lynn sustained an arm injury during a controversial play. His exit from the game amid a tense environment resulted in the insertion of Tyler Luker, the final player on the Bulldog bench.

“We grew so much,” Byrd said of his players’ ability to overcome its circumstances and punch its ticket to the third round. “I’m proud of every one of them.”

Now the Bulldogs are charged with the task of tabling their ailments and overcoming their third round opponent, Talladega County Central (13-7).

“They are very good athletes,” Byrd said. “They utilize their athletes well. They’ve been playing together for a long time. They’ve got six seniors. They’ve got a lot of team speed.”

After losing game one of its second-round series against Fayetteville, TCC rallied punch its ticket to the the third weekend.

“You don’t make it to the final eight (teams in 1A) by accident,” Byrd said of TCC’s accomplishments.

Despite struggling through key injuries and coming off of consecutive weekends in which his team required a third game to move on, Byrd is confident in his team’s resiliency.

“We have been playing with that never-say-die attitude probably a week or two before we got into Demopolis,” Byrd said of an approach that helped his team win seven straight games before it fell to 5A DHS in the final game of the regular season. “You can’t intimidate these boys in Sweet Water. They are not scared to go play anybody.”

Now the Bulldogs will welcome in a speedy TCC team looking to move to the semi-finals. In an effort to prevent that from happening, Byrd turns his attention to his seniors.

“We’re on a mission. The seniors are fighting to keep this thing alive,” Byrd said. “There’s a legacy here that’s been dormant for a long time. They want that legacy too. It’s pride. It’s a tradition. They are wanting to be the class that gets that started back.”

Game one of the series is scheduled for 4 p.m. Friday. Game two is set for 6:30 p.m. If needed, game three will be played at 2 p.m. Saturday.