Albany, Stephenville seek upsets in region baseball finals

The Albany Lions and Stephenville Yellow Jackets both play the role of underdogs in their respective regions’ final baseball series this week.

Albany (21-4) draws fourth-placed New Home (31-3) in the Region I-2A championship series that begins Thursday in Snyder.

Two hundred miles to the east, Stephenville (24-9-1) plays No. 3 Argyle (32-3-1) in its Region I-4A championship series, also beginning Thursday in Weatherford.

While both Big Country teams face a tough task this weekend, both have proven they are up to the challenge.

Albany has been a small school power this decade — reaching at least the region’s quarterfinals every year since 2015, with two appearances in state tournaments since 2017.

Stephenville, meanwhile, reached the region’s finals last year and shocked two-time defending champion Argyle – who swept the Eagles no less – and secured his first-place finish at a state tournament. It was the first time the Yellow Jackets had ever played in a regional final.

So who says Stephenville and Albany can’t pull off the excitement? You’ve both been here before.

Albany players bully Cole Chapman, center, after his game-winning walk-off hit in the bottom of the seventh inning against Eldorado.  Chapman's strike led the Lions to a 3-2 win over the Eagles in Game 1 of the Region I-2A best-of-three playoff series on May 12 at ACU's Crutcher Scott Field.

The cat is out of the bag?

New Home, located about 25 miles south of Lubbock, goes into its first 2A Region Finals with quite a history.

The Leopards made it out of Class 1A last season after playing their second straight state tournament in 2019, losing 4-0 to D’Hanis in the league game. Eventual state champion Slocum beat them 6-3 in the 2018 state semifinals.

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