Tyler Floyd and Brian Picha graduate from Stephenville High School on May 26. They hope their commitment to the Yellow Jacket baseball team doesn't end there.
Stephenville begins the area round of the 4A playoffs at 7 p.m. Friday at Aledo, and concludes the series by hosting Aledo in Game 2 and Game 3, if needed, in a 1 p.m. Saturday doubleheader at James T. Young Baseball Field.
If the Yellow Jackets win the series, they will move within one round of reaching the seniors' goals.
"We want to go until school's out, for sure," said Floyd. "Once school's out all you do is play baseball, so you feel kind of like a big league guy."
Picha says the team is relaxed and confident as they prepare to take on the District 5-4A champions.
"Being relaxed going into it is a positive, but you can be too relaxed," Picha said. "A lot of people may be satisfied with winning the first round and that being enough, but not us, especially with it being Aledo. We want to get past them and keep going."
Floyd is Stephenville's everyday catcher and also pitches when necessary - like when he threw a complete game shutout in the decisive Game 3 of last week's bi-district series against Mansfield Summit.
Picha plays second base when Trent Morrison, Floyd or another Jacket is pitching, but on the mound is where his biggest highlights have come this season. He and Morrison each threw five complete games when Stephenville went through district play without using a single reliever.
Picha also went the distance and allowed only two runs - one earned - in the Jackets' Game 2 win over Summit last Saturday.
Morrison pitched a complete game that lasted 12 innings when Stephenville dropped Game 1, 3-2, to Summit. Starting pitchers have gone the distance in 13 of the Jackets' last 16 games, with relievers being called on only in two non-district contests and a playoff practice game.
Therein lies the biggest similarities, and differences, between Aledo and Stephenville, according to Floyd.
"We both have really good pitching, but we do it different ways," the catcher said. "They have really deep pitching. All their pitchers just pitch, they don't play positions like our guys."
That doesn't bother Picha.
"I believe our pitching is going to be better than theirs," Picha said. "We're confident whoever we put up there isn't going to allow more than one or two runs. Our pitching staff is going to get it done, and I know we can get it done at the plate, too."
Stephenville wasn't getting it done at the plate for a large part of the bi-district series, suffering through a stretch of no hits in 16 at bats with runners in scoring position. That all changed with five runs in the fifth inning of Game 2, however, and the bottom of the lineup was a big reason why.
Mookie Carlile had an RBI double in Game 2, Connor Washington had a hit and freshman Ben Martin posted the first postseason hits of his high school career.
"It's awesome when that happens. We know our top guys are going to hit, but when those guys in the bottom of the lineup are getting on, too, and we can wrap that back around to the top, that's when we can really get things going."
Martin isn't the only freshman making an impact. Brock Morrison leads the Jackets in hitting for the year.
"If you just went up to those guys, you wouldn't think they were freshmen at all," said Picha. "I know Been had a rough day (in Game 1 of the bi-district series), but he was great on Saturday. It seemed like he got on base almost every time. They're just great baseball players, and they're helping us win."
Floyd has a future in baseball at McLennan Community College in Waco, while Picha plans to study at Texas A&M.
"We're wrapping everything up as far as school goes," Floyd said. "I took my last big test (Wednesday), so now I can really put all my focus on what we have to do on the field."
Picha says one thing that will help the Jackets march on is crowd support.
"We had a great crowd last week, and I think it would have been even bigger if we would have been able to play on Friday," Picha said. "I'm thinking this week, both in Aledo and here, both teams will have a big crowd, so it should be fun."
"It's been awesome," the catcher said. "So many people have come up to me, more people than I've ever seen talking about Stephenville baseball."
Both plan on continuing that excitement, all the way past graduation day.
"When we were freshmen they went three rounds," said Tyler of the 2009 team's trip to the regional quarterfinals. "If we can get there and get past that point, it would be awesome for us and the program."
But what if a round four series were to push into Saturday night? On May 26th? Graduation day?
An impromptu graduation for the Yellow Jacket seniors outside a baseball stadium would certainly be fine with Picha and Floyd.
"We just want to keep going," Floyd said again. "Baseball is pretty much our main priority now."
Follow the series and Brad Keith on Twitter @etsports