BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT) — For Oak Mountain baseball, just making the AHSAA playoffs for the first time in five years was an accomplishment in itself.
“We felt like in an area as competitive as ours, just to get in really is a big accomplishment,” first year head coach Derek Irons said. “The question we kind of had to face as a team was was that enough? Was it enough to just get in or did we want to get in and try to make some noise.”
The Eagles chose the latter, upsetting Vestavia Hills in the first round last weekend, setting up the first home playoff series at Oak Mountain since 2007.
“Respect was the main thing we wanted,” Eagles pitcher Joseph Hartsfield said when discussing the team’s goals for this season. “Definitely beating Vestavia in the first round was huge, state wide, and everybody knows us now.”
“I believe that win got us respect,” Ethan Holsombeck said. “There’s no telling how far we can go now.”
This season has been a memorable one for the Eagles even at this point. Besides the milestones mentioned above, this is the first quarterfinals appearance for the program in 10 years. They have also tied the school record for wins in a season (29) and have already surpassed the team record for hits in a season with 363 in 1,126 at-bats, also a record.
Now the team has to maintain focus after a big weekend and look forward to their series against Hewitt-Trussville.
“We can’t expect less. We have to expect what we were expecting going in to Vestavia.” Holsombeck said, who set the single season record for hits at Oak Mountain last weekend with 58. “We have to go in with the right mind set and we have to go in confident.”
“Coach has a 24-hour rule where after you get a huge win, or a win or whatever it is, you’re feeling that for 24 hours, but the next day you’re ready to play and get better,” Hartsfield said.
The Eagles’ series against the Huskies begins Friday night, May 6th, at 4:30pm with a doubleheader.