Baseball swinging for state

Dominique Mazero, Staff Reporter

After beating McKinney High 10-9 to earn District 10-5A’s 3rd seed in the playoffs, the baseball team will play Frisco Wakeland in a best of three series on Thursday and Friday at 7:30 p.m. at Plano West with a third game on Saturday if necessary. Playing on consecutive days isn’t something the team does during district play, but it’s not something that head baseball coach Russell Reichenbach thinks will make a difference.

“Every week, whatever days we play, we emphasize that every player is ready to play whether it is one inning or seven innings or whatever the role might be,” Reichenbach said. “So being Thursday, Friday, and Saturday or Tuesday and Friday, it’s the same drill for us.”

Because the playoff games are on back to back days, the pitching rotation could be altered.

“We have to be a little more thoughtful on who is pitching when just because if they pitch on Tuesday, it is more time for them to come back on Friday,” Reichenbach said. “But with the games back to back like that, you have to be a little more careful of who pitches and when.”

However, getting to the playoffs was not an easy task.

“We had a little bit of a slide where we lost a couple of games and weren’t playing really well, and really weren’t hitting the ball at all,” Reichenbach said. “It got frustrating at points, but to our kids’ credit, they stuck together, and they kept fighting and working to find a way to get into the playoffs. And now we are playing really good ball, and hopefully we can keep it going.”

In their district final series with McKinney High, the baseball team placed high value on getting the third seed instead of the fourth.

“Getting that last win just gave us a lot more motivation to get into playoffs,” junior baseball player Clayton Bilke said. “We just feel better about how we are playing now, and just feel better moving forward. “

The last game against McKinney High also prepared the team for what playoffs will be like.

“The best part about the game was that our kids were really energetic and really into it,” Reichenbach said. “It was almost like a playoff atmosphere, so it was great to be in that atmosphere to get our kids ready, even though it wasn’t an official playoff game. It was good to get our kids in that environment and they responded well.”

Some of the players believe that if the team keeps playing the way they are now, it could be a long playoff run.

“In baseball, it is all up in the air, so really it depends on whether or not we get on a hot streak for these important games,” senior pitcher AJ Celania said. “If we come together as a team, we should be able to go far.”