After a slow start to the season, the Linden-Kildare Tigers rebounded in a big way and eventually punched their ticket to the UIL State Baseball Tournament for the fourth time in school history – the first since 1985.

The Tigers (20-9) will face Valley Mills (28-6) at 4 p.m. today at Dell Diamond in Round Rock. Dallardsville Big Sandy (34-4) and Albany (23-7) meet in the other Class 2A semifinal at 7 p.m., and the winners will battle for the championship at noon on Thursday back at Dell Diamond.

LINDEN-KILDARE

Mascot: Tigers

Coach: John Roberts

How they got here: Def. Union Grove (9-3, 12-0); Def. Rivercrest (11-18, 15-1, 12-2); Def. Woden (2-7, 9-6, 8-2); Def. James Bowie (6-5, 8-9, 9-4)

Roster: Justin Dunlap … Carter Foreman … Nic Kunze (.409, 9 HR, 9 doubles, 40 RBI) … Duece Schuler (.341, 19 RBI, 14 SB) … Karson Bynum … Chase Bynum … Trent Wert (6-5, 2.23 ERA, 47 strikeouts) … Hunter Crenshaw … Mason Johnson (.338, 2 HR, 5 doubles, 4 triples, 24 RBI; 5-1, 2.10 ERA, 37 strikeouts) … Jonathan Owen … Caleb Cunningham (.333, 18 RBI; 2-0) … Colton Anderson … Jacob Owen (.306, 21 RBI, 9 SB; 7-2, 1.92 ERA, 64 strikeouts) … Dalton Alford (.408, 18 RBI) … Jackson Lee … Colt Neville

Did you know: Linden-Kildare is making its fourth trip to the state tournament and first since finishing as the state runner-up in 1985 … The Tigers also made the trip in 1984 and won the Class 2A state title in 1980, defeating La Grange (8-7)

VALLEY MILLS

Mascot: Eagles

Coach: Shane Keeton

How they got here: Def. Itasca (10-0); Def. Crawford (8-11, 2-1, 10-7); Def. Archer City (3-0, 2-0); Def. Windthorst (11-9, 9-8)

Roster: Dylan sumpter … Caden Collins … Copper Nix … Cory McNair (.374; 4-0); Chase Keeton (.543; 7-3); Tanner Sargent … Aaron Shell … Cooper Lane (.378; 6-0); Tyler Phillipp (.340; 2-1) … Eli McNair … Elijah Degrate (.432; 2-1) … Jayson Jones … Josh Garcia … Ty Commander … Cooper Ewing … Cooper Buxkemper (.406; 6-1)

Did you know: Valley Mills is in the state tournament for the sixth time and first since 2005. The Eagles also made the trip in 1983, 1991, 1992 and 2002

ALBANY

Mascot: Lions

Coach: David Fairchild

How they got here: Def. Cross Plains (13-3, 15-1); Def. McCamey (4-0, 14-0); Def. Haskell (15-1, 6-3); Def. Hale Center (2-0, 5-2); Def. New Deal (0-8, 7-6, 4-3)

Roster: Cooper Fairchild (.306) … Kade Everitt … Blaine Kayga (.356) … Ben West (.318; 7-4) … Parker Henry (.308) … Cade Neve (11-1) … Seth Hale … Colby Hargett … Jackson Chapman (.387; 3-1) … Brayden Sullivan … B.J. Morris (.386) … Luke Ivy … Joshya Dyer (.532) … Ryan Hill … William Webb (.370) … Max Ballew

Did you know: Albany is in the state tournament for the second time, also making the trip in 2017

DALLARDSVILLE BIG SANDY

Mascot: Wildcats

Coach: Jacob Hooker

How they got here: Def. Mumford (18-0, 17-0); Def. Shiner (8-1); Def. Thorndale (5-2, 4-1); Def. Mason (3-1); Def. Refugio (0-10, 6-3, 10-2)

Roster: Graden Emmons (.433; 2-1) … Seth Lalumandler … Isaias Ortiz … Case Sutherland (2-0) … Brayden Young … Brayden Lenox (3-1) … Hunter Williams … Ethan Murphy … Bryan Duff … Brandon Hendrix (.400; 11-1) … Broch Holmes (.545; 9-1) … Adrian Thompson … James Bergman … Jako Manshack … Bryan Mosley … McKane Maxwell (.403; 5-0) … Garrett Lilley (.398; 2-0) … Walker Richardson … Trace Flores … Michael Hamilton

Did you know: Big Sandy is in the state tournament for the third straight year. The Wildcats lost in the title game to Muenster in 2017 (6-2), and defeated Muenster for the championship a year ago (13-3) … Two of Big Sandy’s four losses this season came to Class 4A Bridge City

Follow Jack Stallard on Twitter: @lnjsports