SKIPPERVILLE, Ala. (WDHN) — The G.W. Long Rebels are state championship bound for the fifth consecutive season.
Members of the team have been on this stage before and this year they plan on bringing the 17th state title home to Skipperville.
The Rebels have been dominant all season long earning themselves another trip to the Class 2A state championship in which they will play Decatur Heritage for this year’s title.
“We’re definitely going to have to pitch,” G.W. Long head coach Drew Miller said. “That’s going to be the key. I think that’ll be the key for both teams. They’ve got a great pitching staff like we do, so we’re going to have to keep the score low. We’re going to have to make routine plays. We’re definitely going to have to swing the bats and hopefully we can separate ourselves a little bit. I think the key, i’s kind of always the key, is pitching and defense.”
The Rebels won the state championship three years in a row from 2017-2019.
In 2021 the team came up just short in the championship.
“We try to move on from it,” senior Jackson Chancey said. “We do not really talk about it at all and just keep it in the back of our minds and make sure we get it this year.”
Knowing what it’s like to win is an even bigger motivator.
“Experience is a big key in playing in the state championship games,” Chancey said. “It really helps out when you get down.”
G-W. Long’s record heading into the title series is 32-8.
Last week the Rebels took down rival Ariton two games to one, their first time playing three games in a series this postseason.
They believe the experience from that high intensity environment will help them in the finals this week.
“Anytime you play a series like that, that’s definitely going to make you battle tested and I don’t foresee any situation that we would be in to be as intense as the one we were in last Thursday and Friday,” Miller said.
The Eagles’ are 28-9 this season. They last won state in Class 1A in 2016.
As for the Rebels, they’re sticking to the basics to try and bring home another title.
“We need to be mentally tough,” senior Jackson Dasinger said. “Just be focused at all times. Don’t let the game get to you. It’s a big game, so just keep it within ourselves and not try to do anything special. It would mean the world. I’ve been playing here for six years. Winning more than one state championship is hard and it would be great.”
The Rebels take on Decatur Heritage in game one of the state championship series Wednesday at 3 p.m. in Oxford, Alabama.
Game two is Thursday at 10 a.m. at Jacksonville State with the if needed game to follow.