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COLBERT & TUSHKA, OK -- Leopards and Tigers are not so different, minus the spots and stripes. But come Thursday afternoon, it won't be cats squaring off.
"It's going to be a dog fight. Tushka is a really good ball club," Colbert head coach Lance Britt said.
The Tushka and Colbert baseball teams are almost identical.
Both are coming in to their state quarterfinal with 26-6 records, splitting their regular season match ups.
"They're a lot similar to us. They all swing it well and have good pitching. It basically who plays better that day," Colbert senior Preston Rice said.
"We're familiar foes, we play every spring and fall, seems like every game is a nail biter, they're a very good team," Tushka head coach Eddie Jeffcoat added.
Both programs are still searching for their first state title in the sport and both are on the rise making tournament appearances last calendar year.
That experience will only bolster their chances.
"It's not going to be no different than going out and playing a regular and we got our jitters out from playing last fall and everything else," Colbert senior Bradley Nichols said.
"Once you've done that, the expectations are higher and so the boys are just coming into this season wanting to work hard and get back," Jeffcoat said.
Now just three wins away from hanging that first banner, even though they're standing in each others' way, both sides know what it would mean for their town.
"It'd be a great thing for the community because of how hard we've worked to get back to this point, and we just want to show everybody what we can do. I mean, that's what we believe in," Tushka senior Joshua Eaves said.
"It'd be a blessing. It'd be real nice to say that we were the first to do something. It'd be great," Rice concluded.