Chargers bounce back to win region baseball title
Choctaw County walked off its home field dejected on March 7 in their first Class 3A, Region 5 baseball game against Southeast Lauderdale.
The district rival ran the Chargers off their own field in a 12-0 defeat and had Choctaw County coach Andy Young questioning whether or not the rest of the season would go the same way of that loss.
At that point, Young took his team to a Mexican meal up the street from the park and let them sit back and relax.
What he saw there told him everything he needed to know about his team.
“I honestly thought it was going to be a tough season,” Young said. “We had a little get together one night and after that, they gathered around the table and talked about what they wanted to do for the rest of the season.”
What followed was seven-straight district wins to end the year and a six-game winning streak overall to lead the Chargers to a Region 5 championship in the regular season and a No. 1 seed in the playoffs. The Chargers won close games with Philadelphia and Forest and then took out Southeast Lauderdale in a rematch to help get them back in the race for the championship.
Choctaw County officially won it last Thursday when it went to extra innings at Choctaw Central and won the game 4-1.
Many players along the way have been the difference for the Chargers. Adam Threadgill is one of the team leaders at the plate with his .354 batting average and Young said his speed makes him a tough out at the top of the order.
Austin Telano continues to do just about everything well for Young as he’s batting .392 with five doubles and 15 RBI. He’ll come to the mound and shut things down as well as he’s pitched 30.2 innings and allowed just four runs while striking out 42.
The same can be said about Woody Vowell, who is 5-1 on the mound this season. Young has just seen several players make plays when needed.
“Telano is a player and can do it all," Young said. "Noah Lawson came through and has had some big hits for me along the way. A kid that’s really been playing well is Art Norwood as my catcher. He’s an unsung hero who has gotten a lot better as the year went along.”
All of those players and more will be needed down the stretch as the playoffs begin on Friday with Choctaw County hosting Crystal Springs. A Saturday game two will be at Crystal Springs with Monday’s game in Ackerman if necessary.
The Chargers went 12-12 last season and 6-2 in district play and sit 12-6 this year with their 7-1 finish winning them their league. Young said it’s been exciting to watch his team grow over the last year, but the best is yet to come.
“It’s been fun to sit back and be the bus driver," Young said. "This is a fun group. We’re not young and we’re not babies. I look for us to be even better next year, but this has really been fun to watch.”