Griffins enjoying their success
Just a few seasons ago, Sullivan County was on the wrong end of some lopsided losses. They were battling to just win a couple games a season and things were looking bleak.
Now, though, they're the team handing out mercy rule wins.
"We had a few rough years in the beginning," senior pitcher Zach Meyer said.
When this class of seniors were younger, they took their lumps but always felt they could turn things around.
"This is really nice," senior infielder Barry Heinrich remarked. "I started when I was a freshman and I always thought about it. Now it's fun playing no matter what."
"When we were younger we knew we were going to be good," Meyer added. "We had a lot of talent back then, we just happen to put it together now. It feels good to be going for the playoffs now."
They credit a lot of hard work as for their turn around.
"We worked hard for it," Meyer said. "We work everyday in practice."
For the second year in a row they claimed the Christiansen Tire Tournament championship. It was at this point last year that they began their run that eventually took them to Bowman Field.
"We've been playing really hard lately," senior catcher Kelby Mullen said. "We've been on a good streak, we hope to continue it."
This is a group of kids Sullivan County has been waiting for to get them back to district play.
"We've been playing (together) since we were in Little League," explained Meyer. "That helps a lot."
Having that closeness has helped them win games against other good teams, such as beating Muncy in the first round of the playoffs last season.
"I think the connection," explained Meyer, "How were all good friends and were all playing together."
As they move forward they won't forget how last season ended. Up 4-3 in the bottom of the seventh inning of the district semi-finals they would eventually lose to Montgomery 5-4 in the eighth inning.
"That kind of sucked," Heinrich bluntly remarked. "It was just one of those things that happens that you can do nothing about it. You've got to play hard no matter what and what happens, happens."
"It was tough, it was tough," Mullen added. "We knew they were good, we played good. It was a good game. We definitely think we could have won having a good chance at it."
That was the first time these kids every played at Bowman Field, the place where District IV's top baseball players dream of hosting the district championship.
The large environment can be overwhelming for first timers and that may have played a factor last season but this year they have experience on their side.
"We won't be as nervous going in," Heinrich explained.
But first they have to get there.
"We saw some teams already," Mullen said. "There are a still a couple we haven't seen."
Regardless they are confident about their success.
"We have a lot of good kids out here," explained Mullen. "We know we can be good, we just have to work together and we're finally starting to work together. We're on a roll, we have to keep practicing hard. Coach (Tubach) has us keep improving."
They also have their sites set on Montgomery.
"Hopefully we beat Montgomery this year for sure," Heinrich remarked.
They take on the defending district champion Red Raiders today and should get a good a look in case they meet in the playoffs.
"We need to go further this year," Meyer said. "I think we can, we just have to keep playing the way we are."
They have a dream of getting back to Bowman and this time succeeding.
"I've been dreaming about playing pro ball and getting on that field is as close as I can get in high school right now," Heinrich said. "It's a great feeling."
Last year Mullen and Meyer helped Sullivan County win their first ever district title in basketball. This year they would like to leave school by giving them their second in baseball.
"There's good teams but we've been playing good ball lately," Mullen remarked. "There is still room for us to improve so we think we can do it."