When the Ira Bulldogs meet the Stamford Bulldogs on Thursday at Moffett field in Snyder, they will be considered underdogs for maybe the first time all season.
Ira's underdog status may seem validated, after all Stamford has reached 3 state tournaments in 3 years. But the question is, how can an Ira team chock full of athletes such as Lance Morris, the all time leading rushing yards record holder in 6-man football ever be considered an underdog?
“I never even thought about breaking the record, I was just considered with the school record,” Ira senior catcher Lance Morris told KTXS of his football accolade, “what I try to do in every sport is put my team in the best possible position to win.”
The star athlete certainly does that. Morris has calling pitches all year for one of the best staffs in the Big Country – to good effect. One of those pitchers, Tyler Goodwin, feels that the “underdog” label comes from outside the team.
“Everybody thinks we're going to be underdogs,” Goodwin explained, “everyone says, 'Ira didn't make the playoffs last year so they're underdogs.'”
When asked if the feeling has crept into his team, first year Ira head baseball coach Tino Silva admits that perhaps it has.
“For the most part you do just because it's Stamford,” coach Silva told KTXS, “but then you know the type of baseball we play. You know that as long as we do things right, we'll be ok.”
“Most people when you mention Stamford, [they say] ‘aw man they're good’”, Morris said, “but you have to get over the fear of 'they're Stamford'. You have to forget the name Stamford period.”
Out of sight out of mind might just work. The truth is that whatever their name and whatever their history, Stamford committed 7 total errors in their series win over Seymour in the Regional Quarterfinals and only earned 5 of their 12 runs. The Ira Bulldogs played two mistake-free games in their quarterfinal and tallied 20 total hits.
“I never would have thought we would be here to play Stamford to be honest but we've competed and we've battled,” Morris told KTXS, “I don't think we're through yet, we can beat them if we put the ball in play and don't make mistakes.”
“If we're able to get past them that would be amazing,” Silva explained, “hopefully you wouldn't be satisfied with that, hopefully you'd realize that there is one more left to go before you get to where they had been the last 3 years. It would mean a lot for the community, for the kids and for the program and it would just be a good day here in Ira.”
UpdateS of every game of Ira’s Regional Semifinal game with Stamford will be on KTXS Sports.