SALADO — Chad Krempin can still vividly describe the penny that rolled before coming to a stop and resting on a side that meant his team had one game to decide its Region III-2A final against Troy.
Yet as memorable as his loss in the coin flip was, the Salado head coach wasn’t sweating about whether his team will be able to avoid a loss in the game at 7:30 tonight.
“That’s fine,” Krempin said. “We’ve won 15 out of the last 16 games, so we’ll find a way to win one.”
As recent as two rounds ago, Krempin was still hoping his team might find a way to get hot this postseason, convinced he had yet to see his Eagles play their best game.
But what a difference two weeks makes as Salado enters its regional final against Troy — which will be played at University of Mary Hardin-Baylor — flying high after two straight sweeps in the regional quarterfinals and regional semifinals.
“I guess baseball is just the kind of game that can kind of be up and down,” Krempin said. “Right now, we’ve been playing well. I like the way we’re playing.”
The timing can’t be better as Salado has quite literally waited all season for this moment.
The Eagles have longed for the chance to return to state, and now, they are one victory away from making a return to Round Rock.
They don’t plan to waste the opportunity.
“After how it ended last year, our ultimate goal is to get back and prove everybody wrong,” senior Casey Frazier said. “Now that we’re only one game away, it’s right there, we’re just going to have to go take it.”
Frazier is one reason the Eagles feel confident heading into the one-gamer against Troy, with one of the best pitchers in the state rested and ready to go as he has been in many big games before.
And yet Frazier may not even start.
Britton Hawes has been every bit as impressive this season, and Krempin said Tuesday that he hadn’t decided which one of the seniors he was going to start.
But having both at his disposal certainly doesn’t hurt.
“You couldn’t really ask for much more than to have guys like that to be able to throw,” Krempin said. “Both seniors. Both want to be at the state tournament really bad. It means a lot to them.”
Given its surplus of pitching, and the way it has been hitting the ball lately, Salado didn’t seem fazed by its latest challenge. Besides, the state semifinal and state championship are also just one game. And Salado hopes it will find itself facing similar challenges in the future.
“We’d like to play three more one gamers,” Krempin said with a smile. “Hopefully.”
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