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Islander baseball casts underdog talk aside

Grand Island baseball head coach Joe Wells (left) chats with Casey Burnham (2) before a game on April 12, 2018 at Ryder Park (KHGI)

Facing some setbacks in the final weeks of their season, Grand Island baseball managed to receive a wildcard bid for a spot in the Class A state tournament, earning the number seven seed.

At 20–7, the Islanders are about to embark on their fourth state tournament appearance in the last five years, hungry for redemption after suffering one of their biggest losses of the season in the district tournament.

"It's a deal where any of the eight teams can win it, and we're one of those as well," said head coach Joe Wells. "Anytime there's an eight team tournament and it's the best of the best, there's quality teams and there's quality teams in every seed. I feel like we're one and they surely are one to."

"They" is Millard South, who's ranked No. 2 in the bracket, meaning the Islanders find themselves facing an uphill battle.

A notion the boys of purple and gold are quick to dismiss, because along with experience playing on the big stage, coach Wells and his squad bring nine seniors to the table with one last chance at a state title, fueling his team to play better than the ranking shows.

"The numbers don't mean anything to us, we're going into this game the same way we do every game," senior Shay Schanaman said. "We are not backing down, we're not living up to nobody, we're out there to play our best and take care of business on the field."

The Islanders have eight state tourney appearances in the history of their program, while Millard South is about to make their 10th consecutive showing.

The two teams are scheduled to face off Saturday at Werner Park, with first pitch scheduled for 7:00 p.m.

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