Top Dogs Wear Target As Playoffs Continue - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

5/9/05-Carthage

Top Dogs Wear Target As Playoffs Continue

They are the number one team in the state, again, and ready to defend that ranking in the playoffs. The Carthage Bulldogs are a team used to being the top dog.

For the Carthage Bulldogs, practice makes perfect. The number one team in the state is ready for the playoffs to begin. Many of these athletes have been building to this moment since they were five years old.

"Baseball's pretty much the thing in Carthage," said senior pitcher Luke Burnett.  "Everybody's involved in it."

That committment pays off when the dogs take the field. Since 1990, Carthage has 13 playoff appearances, and three trips to Austin. Now, they enter the playoffs with the top ranking, and the target on their back.

"It's a little bit of both," said senior pitcher Clayton McMillan.  "I think its more pressure than it is excitement., everybody's counting on us to do well."

"Everybody's shooting for you," added Burnett.  "Everybody wants to beat, you've got to live up to everybody's expectations being number one."

The bulldogs reputation this year is built around pitching.  Luke and Clayton lead a staff with a team ERA under 1.20. With both seniors signed to play college ball next year, they're looking to make one last splash for the 'Dogs.

"It is my life," said McMillan.  "If I didn't have baseblall I don't know what I'd do."

With their two aces, expectations are sky high for this years team, pretty much just like every other year for the Carthage Bulldogs.

"It's great," said head coach Scott Lee.  "We're expected to win 12 years from now and we don't even know who those kids are going to be. Like I said, I'd rather be on that end of it than somewhere that doesn't expect you to win."

This team wears the target for the playoffs, but it's a burden they've been preparing for all their lives. Carthage will start their playoffs Tuesday against Atlanta.

Reid Kerr reporting.
rkerr@kltv.com  

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