One of the storylines hardly anyone saw coming this year was Hazel Green’s baseball team making a historic playoff run that’s landed them in the 6A state title game.
The Trojans have used the underestimation to propel them to the big game.
“We take it personal. When you don’t give us the recognition that I know we deserve, we take that personal,” said Hazel Green Head Coach Francisco Perez.
if you talk to the Hazel Green players and coaches they’ll tell you that all season they’ve been sold short.
“We’ve always been the underdog come but we’ve always had a chip on her shoulder the entire season. We’ve always had to prove to people that we were better,” said Hazel Green senior pitcher, Tyler Duskin.
“They keep telling me coach that’s fine they’re gonna sleep on us and we’re going to win the whole thing and here we are we have a chance to do that.” said Coach Perez.
But all the talk or lack there of, has fueled the fire and led them to this historic postseason run.
“None of these guys had playoff experience because we hadn’t made the playoffs in four years. All these guys are first round playoff players and here we are playing for a championship.”
During the Trojans post season play they’ve knocked off three top ranked opponents. Including in the very first round against No. 4 Oxford.
“To me that’s when I knew we were gonna be dangerous because we were able to overcome the first series.”
Seniors Tyler Duskin and Isaiah Magwood said first year Hazel Green Head Coach Perez, is a major reason for their success.
“He brought in a new mindset. We were kind of a mentally weak team. So he was able to bring in mental toughness and help us take it to the next level,” said Duskin.
“It’s a new atmosphere. The intensity is so much different we bring intensity every day come walk and ready to go that’s the difference and why we been winning games,” said Magwood.
And though everyone doubted, the Trojans say they’ve always believed.
“I’m really not shocked at the fact that we are here. We were able to compete and win big games and I knew did then we were going to make a run,” said Coach Perez.
“It’s not really a surprise, we knew we had the ability to do it it’s just getting there.” said Duskin.
Hazel Green will be facing off against the reigning state champions, Helena, on Thursday at 7 p.m.