The road to a state championship begins now in the regular season, and the Tattnall Trojans are off to a hot start trying to win back-to-back state titles.
"We set the bar really high, there's a tremendous amount of expectation in their level of play and we demand a lot of them," Tattnall head baseball coach Joey Hiller said.
It's never an easy task to try and repeat as state champions, but Tattnall knows a thing or two about defending a title. Since 2000, the Trojans have won 9 state championships, and three of them were back-to-back.
"Our goal every year is to do the best we can," senior pitcher Matt Blair said. "We don't compare ourselves to anyone else. We compare ourselves to ourselves, and our standards, and our standard can be a state championship every year.
And Hiller is ready for the challenge.
" If you win one, you know you want to win another one, and it's hard not to think about repeating if you are the defending state champions. So we do feel like we gotta back it up by doing it again," Hiller said.
And right now the defending champs seem lined up to make another run. They won 10 straight to open the year, and if you ask the players, their first loss of the year served as a wake up call.
"Yeah it's a challenge to stay focused, and not get satisfied," senior second baseman Tyller Warnock said. "We were starting to get like that we are going to win, no big deal. And So I think our loss on Saturday is going to help us out, and kind of gave us a refreshment, alright we just can't throw our hats on the field we have to actually work and play hard. "
During this hot streak, Tattnall has been on a tear. They've crushed 11 homers, scored 119 runs in just 11 games. Coach Hiller thanks their new indoor batting cages for their success.
"We don't miss a beat. You know in years past, it's taken us a while to get going because we will have two, three, or four days in a row where we don't get to do anything. So this helps us stay on top of our game. "
They'll hit the cages hard this week as they get ready for a rivalry showdown against Stratford Academy.
"Oh this game is very important, this team is right across the street from us, senior pitcher Garret Houston said. "We've always been big rivals against Stratford in every sport, but especially baseball is a big game, a big rivalry, and its one of the most important of the season."
And with it comes the biggest win you can get in the regular season... bragging rights.