Thursday night is about taking care of business, according to Salado senior Drew Van Winkle.
The business at hand is the Class 2A baseball playoffs and Salado will face Crawford at Temple Junior College at 7 p.m. in Game 1 of a best-of-three series.
“It’s time for us to take care of business and worry about ourselves,” said Van Winkle, who plays first base and pitcher. “We have to play our game.”
Van Winkle said he and his teammates don’t know much about Crawford, their first-round opponent.
“And that can be a benefit,” Van Winkle said. “If you don’t know much about your opponent, you won’t overthink things.”
This season, Salado finished second in District 22-2A. Last year, the Eagles finished their season in the semifinals of the state tournament.
“Not winning the state tournament last year left a bad taste in our mouths,” said Eagles senior catcher Cole Haag.
“It wasn’t the way I wanted to go out last year. Now, it’s time for us to make sure things don’t end that way again. I’m excited the playoffs are here.”
Game 2 is Friday at 5:30 p.m. If necessary, Game 3 will begin immediately after.
Most likely, the Eagles will pitch Casey Frazier and Britton Hawes in the first two games.
“We’re still unsure of who will pitch Game 1, whether it will be Casey or me,” Hawes said. “No matter what, our team must treat this series as the biggest games we’ve played all year. I feel our pitching will be there for us and we know we can field. We just need to get our bats going.”
The Eagles pitching staff is deep; the team ERA of Salado is under 1.00. It is clear Frazier and Hawes are the 1-2 guys.
“Both Casey and Britton are so effective because of their control,” Haag said. “They have good movement on their offspeed pitches. What also makes each so effective is that both keep cool heads on the mound — neither ever gets too worked up.”
Van Winkle said practices this week have been upbeat.
“Our team’s attitude is good,” he said. “We’re in the mood that we’re not letting anything get in our way of going back to Round Rock.
“We’ve got some unfinished business there.”
SALADO VS. CRAWFORD
All games at Temple Junior College.
- GAME 1 — Thursday, 7 p.m.
- GAME 2 — Friday, 5:30 p.m.
- GAME 3 (if necessary) — Friday, immediately following Game 2