OZARK (KFSM)--Brett Stone understands the push to the playoffs. After all, it was just 13 years ago that he suited up for the Hillbillies.
"It’s special you know to be a part of it," Stone said. "We had a bunch of success when I played here (graduated 2005) and to have a bunch of success now it’s something the community gets behind us and supports the baseball program and it’s just fun to watch these kids succeed on the field."
"He’s really relatable since he’s been here before so he’s a great player coach," sophomore Bryant Burns said.
"He knows exactly what we’re going through and he wants it just as bad as we do. So we all want it so we’re going for it," added junior Eddie Graham.
What’s enabled the Hillbillies to a 17-5 record is an even keel mentality, with an emphasis on defense and pitching.
"Our guys have done a good job of not getting too high after wins or not getting too low after losses," Stone said. "We just come out work hard every day and try to get better. And our approach is gonna be the same thing, to go out and throw strikes, play defense and get timely hits."
Of course, with communities like Ozark, it’s more a group of lifelong friends than a team of baseball players.
"We’re all real close. We’ve been playing together for several years," said Josh Williams. "So the chemistry kind of puts us together really well."
Just two Hillbillies graduated last season. But the emergence of Burns, who's hit over .400, has provided a big boost to the lineup.
"We have a lot of weapons all around the board. We can really score like you said one through nine, all the way," said Burns.
Two seed Ozark opens up postseason play with the 4A-4 district tournament at Booneville High School on Tuesday at 12:30 p.m. against seventh seeded Subiaco Academy. With a win, the Hillbillies lock up a spot in the 4A-North regional.