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PC faces Sheffield in playoffs

Published 3:43pm Tuesday, April 15, 2014

By Bart Moss

For the FCT

The good news: The Phil Campbell Bobcats are playoff bound.

The bad news: The Bobcats will have to play the top-ranked team in class 2A – the Sheffield Bulldogs.

Phil Campbell was the runner up in 2A, Area 16 with a 4-2 area record. The Bobcats’ overall record is 13-15. Sheffield was the winner of 2A, Area 15.

The two teams will square off Friday at 4 p.m. and again at 7:30 p.m. at Sheffield. If necessary, game three is set for Saturday at 1 p.m.

Phil Campbell coach Jonathan Raper knows his young team faces a daunting task but is confident they are up for it.

At any given time, the Bobcats are starting two eighth graders and two ninth graders.

“I think we are playing our best baseball,” said Raper, whose team has won seven of their last 10 games. “We show up to the ball park expecting to win. I think that has come with experience. Out junior high players have had to grow up fast. They kind of got thrown into the fire and I like how they’ve responded.”

But Raper knows the challenge that awaits his team.

“Sheffield is an all-around great team,” Raper said. “That is why they are the number one ranked team. They have a great pitching staff, they hit the ball real well and they play good defense. They don’t beat themselves. They are fundamentally sound.”

On the flipside, he believes his young PC team can win if things go their way.

“I think we are catching them at the right time,” Raper said. “They beat us twice rather easily earlier in the season. If they are overlooking us and we can keep the game close, I like our chances.”

Two seniors have been leading the way for the Bobcats down the stretch, according to Raper.

“Blake Jones and Colton Baker have stepped it up for us when we’ve needed them.”

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