The El Campo Ricebirds (20-8 and 8-4 in District) with their third-place finish in District 25 will face the Caldwell Hornets (24-5 and 9-1 in District) who finished second in District 26 in a three-game series starting today.
Wednesday the Ricebirds will play Caldwell in Weimar at 7 p.m.
Thursday the loser of game one will have a home game at 7 p.m.
Friday the winner of game one will have a home game at 7 p.m.
The Ricebirds come into the game riding some momentum. They picked up a 4-3 win over the Stafford Spartans, who needed to beat the Ricebirds to have a chance at the playoffs, Friday night at home. Hours later, the Ricebirds traveled to play the Brazosport Exporters a playoff team in a non-District game and beat them 11-5.
“I told the guys, we’re coming off two good wins and Caldwell is coming off of two losses,” Coach Russell Krenek said. “I thought we practiced really well (Monday). We’re good. We’re relaxed. We’re having fun and we’re enjoying what we’re doing right now. No pressure. Somebody is going to win and somebody is going to lose. We’re just going to come out and play good baseball and let the ball take care of itself.”
Last season Caldwell lost in the first round of the playoffs to Liberty Hill in a two-game sweep. The Hornets returned seven starters from that team. On offense this season during District play, Caldwell is averaging 5.9 runs a game, they are allowing 2.2 runs a game.
“They got some good arms over there,” Krenek said. “They hit for average. They’re going to be real aggressive on the bases. They’re a good ball club.”
Caldwell isn’t a normal two-seed in District. The Hornets finished the year as co-District champions, but lost the play-in game with Bellville so they fell to second place.
The Ricebirds offense throughout the season has been able to put up runs and beat teams in various fashions. Like the softball team who played Caldwell and won in the first round, the baseball team has a number of come from behind wins this year. In District play, the offense is scoring 6.1 runs a game while allowing 4.5 runs a game.