Covenant and Miller School in VISAA Baseball State Semifinals

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Tanner Morris turns a doubleplay at practice Tanner Morris turns a doubleplay at practice
Will Moore celebrates a home run Will Moore celebrates a home run

The Miller School and Covenant baseball teams are on a collision course in the VISAA State Tournament.

Both teams won on Tuesday to advance to Friday's state semifinals.

Miller is the top-seed in the Division II.

The Mavericks will play 5-seed highland Friday morning in Petersburg.

Miller beat Hargrave Military Academy 11-0 in the quarterfinals on Tuesday.

On Wednesday, the Mavericks had four players named First-Team All-State: Ethan Murray, Adam Hackenberg, Will Wagner, and Tanner Morris.

The Miller School is playing in the state semifinals for the fourth year in a row.

"We have a lot of guys who have postseason experience," says Morris.  "I think they understand that when the situation calls for them, that they will step up, and hopefully make the right decision, whether it's hitting, pitching, or fielding."

Head coach Billy Wagner says, "Even though we've been there, these kids are young, and they want to do well, so they can press a little bit we try to keep practices light, and just go through what we do every day, and hopefully that will add up to us just going out and playing good baseball."

The Mavericks will face Highland School at Shepherd Stadium at 11 AM on Friday.

Senior Will Wagner says, "We've played there every year.  I like it.  The ground is a little harder, but we're used to it now, so we'll know what to expect from it."

Covenant is on the other side of the bracket in the state semifinals.

The Eagles rallied to beat Nansemond-Suffolk Academy 3-2 in the quarterfinals on Tuesday.

Covenant had three players named First-Team All-State on Wednesday: Luke Burton, Tyler Mahone, and Will Moore.

The 3-seed Eagles will play 7-seed Atlantic Shores on Friday in the semis.

Covenant lost 3-2 earlier this season against Atlantic Shores, but an Eagles win on Friday could set up a rematch with Miller in the finals.

The Mavericks beat Covenant on a crazy finish in the VIS conference championship game last weekend.

Senior Will Moore says, "I don't want anything more than to play Miller in the finals but we have to win Friday to play Saturday.  We just got to rally together and make sure we're all locked in on Friday because it's win or go home.  We want Saturday, but we got to win Friday."

Head coach Jeff Burton adds, "There is a reality, and the reality is they would love to play Miller, but I think this game is too big for them to look beyond it.  There's no looking past Nansemond-Suffolk.  There was no looking past Hargrave or Roanoke Catholic last year when it was one-and-done in our conference tournament.  I think we'll be fine."

Senior Jake Haney adds, "We have six seniors that really want to win to have that ring sitting up in their house and on their finger.  We all want the same thing, and I think that's really huge. We got to keep our heads in the game, and really limit them on the basepaths, and pitch around their big hitters, and really just get the bats going."

Covenant won the VISAA state title 2000 and 2011, while the Miller School captured its only state championship in 2006.

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