Holtville looking to end 40-title drought on baseball diamond

The Holtville Bulldogs are seeking their first baseball state title in 40 years.
Published: May. 17, 2023 at 8:52 PM CDT|Updated: May. 17, 2023 at 11:02 PM CDT
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HOLTVILLE, Ala. (WSFA) - On Thursday, Holtville baseball will face Sardis High School in the AHSAA Class 5A championship series in Oxford. The Bulldogs are seeking their first state title in baseball since 1983, a span of 40 years.

Holtville is making its the second consecutive appearance in the state championship series. Last year, the Bulldogs lost in three games to Russellville. Holtville head coach Scott Tubbs says last year’s loss lingered with the team for a while.

“It left a little sour taste in our mouth, and I think they’re a little more focused. They know what to expect this time around, so they’re definitely excited about having an opportunity,” he said.

Tubbs also says his guys are ready and prepared for all that comes with playing in this year’s championship series. The players agree as well, saying the key difference between this postseason and last is the adversity faced.

“Last year we didn’t have to face any adversity in the playoffs. I mean, we swept every round. And then when we got our back against the wall in the state championship series. We kind of made some mistakes and it hurt us,” said Tubbs.

Holtville junior Drey Barrett says the experience of playing in last year’s finals is something the Bulldogs carry with them this year.

“It’s something special. Us coming up short last year, being runner ups, we wanted this all year. It’s what we worked for all year,” said Barrett.

Barrett, like many others, grew up in Holtville and says the town lives for baseball. He said the tradition of putting a winning product on the field is important and snapping the streak of 40 consecutive years without a state title on the diamond would be huge.

“I think it’d be very special for the environment,” he said.

Senior Tanner Potts agrees. He says it’d be even bigger for the seniors on the team to experience one last high before moving on to the next parts of their lives.

“Some of them guys, a couple of them are going to play college ball, but some of us aren’t, so this’ll be our last time getting to put on the cleats and throw the ball around with each other and be a team. And to be able to send us off like that would just mean the world,” said Potts.

Neither Potts nor Barrett nor their head coach are concerned about butterflies this year. Having been in this spot before, they each say they feel good about entering the championship series against Sardis. Tubbs even says he doesn’t expect his guys to flinch should they face elimination at any point.

Game one is at 7 p.m. Thursday. Game two is at 10 a.m. Friday on the campus of Jacksonville State, as well as Friday’s “if necessary” game three.

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