Bulldogs hope to banish bad mojo at DellWhile the coaching fraternity is without a doubt, the most superstitious profession on the face of the earth, Kelly Kuhl has not ordered an exorcism on Dell Diamond or a witch doctor to make sure the infield is not possessed.
Why all the voodoo? Because in Thorndale’s last three appearances at the state tournament, the Bulldogs have turned in three very un-Thorndale like performances before being sent the short distance back down the road home.
Last year’s Windthorst thumping was the third straight state semifinals loss for the Bulldogs and second by the 10-run rule after capturing the 2005 championship.
In the Bulldogs’ last three state games, they have scratched out just 11 hits, 10 of them singles.
In that three-game span, Thorndale has also been outscored 25-1.
“We’re not going to watch the first game like we have,” Kuhl said. “We’re not going to worry about what the other teams are doing and just take care of our business.”
Kuhl is going to rely on his team’s talents and trust his players to be ready to play.
“They have prepared themselves better this year than they have in the past,” Kuhl said. “They learned from last year’s experience, that they need to get after it everyday and don’t take anything for granted.”
Kuhl wouldn’t mind slowing things down a bit.
“Especially last year, it just flew by,” he said. “The next thing you know, it’s over. Everyone seems to be more relaxed this year. It’s all about handling pressure.”
Thorndale assistant Scott Frei—a former Rockdale baseball star and district MVP— made sure the Bulldogs didn’t forget why they were playing Friday, by hanging last year’s bronze medal on the dugout fence in the regional final contest with LaPryor.
Not only to get to state, but erase the memory of last year’s brief appearance. Talk about your symbolism.
“I think it gave the kids focus and something to focus on,” said Kuhl, who has led the Bulldogs to three state trips in his four years as head coach and an impressive 84 wins.
He was also an assistant to Scott Holder when the Bulldogs won it all in 2005.
In the past six years, no other team in the state of Texas has made as many trips to the state tournament—in any classifi cation.
Thorndale is charging into the state tournament as it has done the past three times.
The Bulldogs have won 15 of their last 16 games heading in and 14 of their last 15 state playoff games over the past two years and 22 of 25 in the past three.
There is one thing that is bothering Kuhl. The Bulldogs always eat at Whataburger after playoff games. When they beat Flatonia in Taylor in the quarterfi nals, they didn’t eat there.
The next game, they lost to D’Hanis–their only loss in the playoffs.
“I heard about that,” he admitted. “We’ll be eating at Whataburger from now on.”
Hopefully that last meal will come Thursday night.