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Hayden baseball advances to third round of playoffs for first time in 27 years

Published: May. 6, 2021 at 8:26 PM CDT
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HAYDEN, Ala. (WBRC) - In his 18 years of coaching, Lucas Drake said this year’s baseball team is the best he’s ever coached.

“Their togetherness, it’s unlike anything I’ve ever had from seniors to eighth graders. Literally, the best I’ve ever coached,” said Hayden baseball coach Lucas Drake.

For the first time since 1994, Hayden advanced to the third round of the AHSAA playoffs, 27 years in the making.

“It’s been crazy, never in a million years, especially how we started the season, I didn’t think we would make it this far, but we’re here and having fun doing it,” said Hayden baseball player Braden Hodges.

Hayden started the season 4-8, but after playing in a spring break tournament in late March, the Wildcats have gone 15-3.

“We played a few 6A teams and we finally beat one of the top 6A teams in the state and it was motivation for us,” said Hayden baseball player Eli Williams.

“I think it was the trip we had, it was like games really don’t matter so we decided to have fun and it ended up working out,” added Hodges.

Hayden faces Madison Academy in the third round Thursday with hopes of advancing to the 5A semifinals.

“It’s a little bit of unchartered territory for us, but we’re enjoying it and trying to keep working on advancing,” Drake said.

“That’s the reason why we play the game, we’re excited to be here and we’re doing it for the community,” said Hayden baseball player Carson Simmons.

To celebrate their playoff run, the entire Hayden team has dyed their hair blonde as part of a playoff tradition the program started years ago.

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