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Since the end of March, Junction City and Parkers Chapel have been two of the hottest teams in the state regardless of class.

This afternoon, they will meet for the 8-2A conference title.

Game time is set for 5 p.m. at Parkers Chapel.

Both schools started the week with double-digit winning streaks.

The Dragons entered Monday’s 8-2A tilt at Fordyce having won 11 straight games, while the Trojans took a 10-game winning streak into their Monday conference game at Lafayette County.

Regardless of today’s outcome, both schools have already locked up spots in the regional tournament, which Parkers Chapel will be hosting next month by virtue of finishing in the top two spots in the 8-2A during conference play.

Since returning from their trip over spring break, the Dragons have been dominant.

During their streak, the Dragons have outscored opponents 127-11.

In conference play, the Dragons have bludgeoned opponents by an astonishing margin of 72-2.

And while the offense has certainly produced, Junction City’s pitching and defense have been outstanding.

Junction City has six shutouts during this stretch with five coming in conference play, and no opponent has scored more than three runs against the Dragons.

“Our pitchers have been throwing strikes, and defensively, we’ve been playing pretty well,” said Junction City coach Joe Paul Hammett.

“Some nights, we might have 12, 13 putouts in the field, and we’re not walking many people like we were earlier in the year.

“We’re getting the lead early and then just playing, just tacking on a run here and there. We’ve been pretty stingy with the runs. Hopefully, we can continue that.”

Junior Keelan Hodge has been superb in his conference starts, posting three straight scoreless outings spanning 18 2/3 innings.

Hodge has allowed just five hits with four walks and 38 strikeouts in posting wins over Spring Hill, Harmony Grove and Woodlawn.

The right-hander has also posted 10 or more strikeouts in all of his conference starts with 18 coming against Spring Hill.

“Keelan was pretty sharp again, and he’s been sharp his last four outings, especially in conference,” Hammett said after Junction City downed Woodlawn last Thursday night.

“His fastball had good pop, and his curveball was good.”

Not to be outdone, the Trojans have won 14 of their last 15 games overall, and they have outscored their foes 103-27 during their winning streak, posting three shutouts.

In conference play, Parkers Chapel has outscored its opponents 55-16, although the Trojans have been sternly tested, posting four come-from-behind wins.

In their showdown at Woodlawn, Parkers Chapel overcame an early 4-1 deficit to pick up a 9-7 win, scoring two runs in the seventh to break a 7-7 tie.

In their home win over Fordyce, the Trojans scored four runs in the sixth inning to erase a 3-2 deficit to win 6-3.

Last Friday against Harmony Grove, Parkers Chapel fought back from an early 3-0 deficit to win 6-4, scoring twice in the sixth to break a 4-4 tie to take the lead for good.

And while the Trojans have showed plenty of mettle to stay undefeated in league play, their offense has also produced, scoring nine or more runs in seven of the their 10 wins during the streak.

On the mound, the Trojans have a solid 1-2 punch in junior Tyler Martin and senior Michael Brotherton.

Heading into Monday’s game, Martin was 7-0 with a 0.85 ERA in 11 appearances, while Brotherton was 6-1 with a 1.34 ERA in 12 appearances.

A left-hander, Brotherton has won his last six decisions, including two in relief last week against Smackover and Harmony Grove, allowing one run in 7 1/3 innings.

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