DALE COUNTY, Ala. (WDHN) — It’s a cross county rivalry matchup as the G.W. Long Rebels take on the Ariton Purple Cats in the semifinals of the Class 2A playoffs.
The Rebels have won the state championship the last three seasons in a row while the Purple Cats are yet to win a state title.
“To do something that’s never been done before, you got to do something different,” Ariton Head Baseball Coach Logan Dunlap said. “You’ve got to be different, and I think our guys have really bought into that. And they’ve sort of taken on that role of doing something that’s never been done here before so they’re excited about it, and we’re looking forward to it.”
Ariton beat G.W. Long back in April. Now the rivals will face off in the final four.
“It’s another playoff series,” G.W. Long Head Baseball Coach Drew Miller said. “That’s the way that we always look at it. If we’re playing the Atlanta Braves, the University of Alabama or Ariton we’re going to practice the same and we’re going to play the same and hopefully we’ll be able to compete with them a little better than we did last time.”
The Rebels have a 17 to 14 record while the Purple Cats are at 26 to 8.
Ariton has home field advantage, and both teams are expecting a huge crowd.
“Don’t let the game get too big for us,” G.W. Long junior Blayne McDaniel said. “Play within ourselves. Don’t let them get momentum off the stuff we do and play good ball.”
“It’s gonna be crazy,” Ariton sophomore Landon Tyler said. “There’s gonna be fans everywhere and them being 15 minutes down the road they’re gonna be packed out over here but I think we got the edge and I like it.”
The teams said they’re taking the playoffs one round at a time, but both schools are confident they can make it to the championship.
“We know we can do it,” Ariton senior Nash Evans said. “We have the guys. This is the team right here that can do it. We’re just really excited to play these guys here at home and it’s a new game.”
“Just excited to be here,” McDaniel said. “This is what we live for here. Just another year doing it.
We got robbed last year so it’s great to be back here again.”
The Purple Cats will hold the Rebels in Ariton on Wednesday at 4:30 p.m. and 7 p.m. depending on weather that could change.