GREENWOOD (KFSM) - Forget what the schedule says, Greenwood’s road to the state tournament really began in late March
"The Arizona trip is really where it started with the bond with the senior class," recalls senior Jake Smith.
"It’s like a 17 hour trip, so it’s not like a short, we’re gonna get there quick trip," says pitcher Connor Noland. "We were on the bus together for a long time and got to talk to each other, and got to spend a little too much time together maybe, but it was fun."
The team played a tournament in the Phoenix area, but it was really the trip there that stuck with the Bulldogs. When it comes to the actual details of that trip, senior Cooper Passmore thinks that's best left to the imagination.
"Bus ride, I can’t really take you through it because I might get in trouble for that, but it was just a good bonding memory I guess, we can kind of just leave it at that."
The Bulldogs made a perfect trip to Arizona, winning all four games by an average of six runs. But they took away a lot more than just some W’s, says Noland.
"That trip obviously helps, I mean you get to live with those guys for five days, and sometimes it’s good, sometimes it’s bad, and we’re just really close and tight knit group, and it’s just really built the bonds and made us better on the field."
"We kind of formed a bond and it just becomes instinct, everything we do," adds Passmore.
Since the Arizona trip, the team hasn’t lost, rattling off a 21 game winning streak and a conference championship. But they have bigger goals, the kind that haven't been achieved at Greenwood in a long time.
"There’s not a state champion number since I guess 12 years ago, and we’re kind of hungry for that, so that’s kind of motivation in itself right there, put a number on the wall and go out with a bang," says Passmore.
This is the first group of seniors that have spent all four years under head coach Trey Holloway. They've won two conference titles and been to the state semifinals. Many got a ring earlier this year as members of the Greenwood football team. Holloway gets emotional when describing what a state title run would mean to this baseball team.
"When you're around each other this much for so many years, it's hard not feel like a family. Ive watched them grow not only as baseball players, but as men in their community. It's hard to think each game no could be the last, but knowing that we could have three or four left, that would be really special."
Greenwood hosts the 6A state tournament this weekend, and, if all goes according to plan, will make the relatively short bus ride to Baum Stadium the following week for the state championship.