FORT ANN, N.Y. (NEWS10) – The Fort Ann baseball and softball teams have each won four state championships, and they both could have a shot at a fifth title this weekend.
“There is one expectation and one thing allowed is coming back with a championship,” senior pitcher Garrett Bailey said.
This year’s Fort Ann baseball and softball teams are embracing the standard their predecessors have set. Each have played in the state Final Four and both are relying on similar tools for success.
“Pitching and defense – they win championships,” Bailey said.
For the baseball team, seniors Tyler Mattison and Bailey have dominated on the mound.
“Oh, they’re lights out,” baseball coach Dane Clark said. “That’s not even a factor concerning how Garrett and Tyler are gonna throw. We know they’re gonna throw great this weekend.”
And sophomore Kayla Bailey, Garrett’s younger sister, is untouchable in the circle.
“Having my team behind me, I’m confident in them that if they hit the ball, then they’ll be there to back me up,” she said.
But as good as both groups are, they’ve had to overcome adversity to get to this point.
“I thought early on we didn’t think we were, you know, maybe we were untouchable, and that wasn’t the case,” softball coach Jason Humiston said.
A pair of early season losses nearly cost the boys and girls, but they were able to refocus because of one thing.
“Our bond,” Garrett said. “We’re a very tight team. We’re like brothers. I think that helps us win a lot of games.”
Hard to argue with the Cardinals’ formula and with the end goal in sight.
“Just relax, have fun, and play the game you’ve grown up playing,” Clark said.
“We’ve been on both sides of it – the winning side and the losing side – and I can tell you the winning side is a lot better,” Mattison said. “For us seniors to go out with a championship, it would mean the world.”
“We obviously know there’s a tough task ahead of us in Deposit,” Humiston said. “They’re the two-time [defending] champions, and we think and know we can do it.”
Both the baseball and softball teams each won the state championship in the same year in 2013, and each team said they’re looking to do it again.