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DEFYING ALL THE ODDS: Saints make a lot of noise in state tournament

The LBWCC Saints rallied late in the season and made a strong run in the Alabama Community College Conference tournament before falling in the championship game.

“We struggled a lot early in the year,” LBWCC head baseball coach Steve Helms said. “There in the last two or three weeks, we got really hot.”

LBWCC struggled early in the year and needed to win a play-in game in order to play in the conference tournament.

“We had a to win a play-in game to even get in the tournament,” Helms said. “Then we go on to win five games in the regional tournament. That’s pretty impressive. Unfortunately, we just ran out of pitching there at the end, but the guys really represented LBWCC well and made this old coach very proud.”

Late in the year and fighting for a playoff spot, Helms said he challenged the team to improve.

“I just challenged them,” Helms said. “At the time, we were six games under .500 and I just challenged their legacy. What kind of legacy are they going to leave within in our program? That seemed to hit the right button. We became a different team after that. They made a complete turn around and they played as hard as any team that I’ve ever coached.”

Helms said that the team really came together as one late in the year.

“They really just bought into each other,” Helms said. “You hear all that coach speak and clichés every where, but that’s exactly what happened.”

Despite not winning the conference title, Helms said he is proud of his team.

“You have to tip your hat to those guys,” Helms said of his team. “The score board might not say they are champions, but I can promise you there were some champions in our dugout. I’m mighty proud of these guys.”

Helms said that the team never gave up hope during the tournament.

“This team showed that they wouldn’t quit,” Helms said. “We were down 6-1 to Wallace-Dothan and we came back to win. We were already short on pitching, but our guys refused to give up. As a coach, that’s the type of team that you dream about coaching. They kept grinding and fighting. It was a beautiful thing to watch.”

Helms said it was good to get back into the championship game.

“It’s been three or four years since we made a deep run in the tournament so this was good to get back where we belong as a program,” Helms said. “We were relentless. Everyone said that we just kept coming. It makes you might proud to hear that as a coach. It went from one of the worst seasons to all smiles in about three weeks. My assistant coaches did a great job this year. I’m so proud of this team. They are great kids with bright futures. I’m proud of who they and where they are going. They aren’t all great baseball players, but they are high character young men who have bright futures ahead of them.”