Blair Oaks & Linn head to State Baseball Final Four

The Linn Wildcats will play in their first State Baseball Final Four since 2014 when they take on Elsberry Wednesday at 1:30 pm at US Ballpark in Ozark. 

The Wildcats were struggling to find their footing until a mid-season discussion of leadership started among the team's seniors.

"Leadership.  I've been kind of preaching on it all year," said head coach Briar Hancock.  "We have six seniors.  I've shown them what to say and how to say it and then from there it just kind of blew up and I couldn't be more excited and more proud of these guys."

All of this dream season has taken place under first year coach Briar Hancock, who has pulled all the right strings in his first season as a head coach.

"Playing at home in Sectionals was awesome," said Hancock.  "The community just kind of rallied together."

"We had, I would say, probably 200 people there.  It was was kind of electric for being a rainy and cold game.  So, yeah I couldn't be more pleased with how the community has rallied around us.  And hopefully we can give back to them by winning the Championship."

Meanwhile in Wardsville the Blair Oaks Falcons are in search of their second straight State Championship dating back to the Class 3 title they won in 2019.  With Spring sports scrapped in 2020 due to the pandemic the Falcons are in search of back to back championships.  They are in Class 4 now but many of the same players who helped win the 2019 championship are back.  The Falcons face Hollister in the semifinals on Wednesday at 6:30 pm.

"Ya know, with the experience we've had it's really been an advantage for us.  And I'm hoping it continues to do that," said head coach Mike DeMilia.

"Hollister's a great baseball team but we've been in the Final Four and they haven't. And we're hoping that that's an advantage for us.  I don't know if it will be but it's something that, again, our guys are really comfortable in those big games and it's somethign that defintely plays a factor in our success."

Blair Oaks built confidence throughout the season especially from a pair of victory's over local baseball powerhouse Helias.

"I think beating them that first time was a real big day," said DeMilia. "And we played up in the Columbia Tournament and on Saturday we played CBC and Rock Bridge.  Ya know, CBC is in the final four and Rock Bridge is Rock Bridge.  And we were able to beat both of them in the same day and I think that was the day where we really realized how good we could be."

Be sure to follow KOMU Sports on Twitter @KOMUSports for live updates from Ozark, MO as both Linn and Blair Oaks play for spots in the State Championship games.

Sports Director

I'm proud to be the Sports Director for KOMU-TV in my hometown of Columbia, MO. You can catch me on KOMU 8 News at 6, 9 and 10 and Sundays on Sports Xtra. Be sure to follow me on Twitter and Facebook @BenArnetKOMU

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