The Miners are scheduled to play their last conference game today at Pulaski Academy. However, if the game is rained out — like Monday’s game against Horatio — head coach Michael Mattox said both teams will likely take a loss.
As of now, Bauxite has an 11-12 overall record and is 2-4 in 4A-7 Conference play. Mattox said a loss will not change his team’s No. 6 seed in the district tournament, which is set to begin Wednesday in De Queen.
“It won’t change our situation,” he said, adding that PA’s loss will move De Queen from a three seed to a four, and Ashdown from a four to a three.
If inclement weather postpones games Wednesday, Mattox said the tournament will be pushed back. In the unlikely event that no games are able to be played before the 4A Regional Tournaments, Don Brodell with Arkansas Activities Association said, “It is up to the conferences to decide who advances.”
Mattox said the top four teams from the regular season would then advance to regional, which will be held Friday, May 6, through Monday, May 9, in Nashville.
As a No. 6 seed, the Miners will need to win two games to advance to the 4A South Regional Tournament.
“We’ve got to win two or the season’s over,” Mattox said. “They know that, and they know who’s going to be in front of them.”
In the opening round, the Miners will face Oak Grove, whom Bauxite beat 12-3 in the first conference game of the season, but Mattox warned Oak Grove has gotten better.
Still, he plans to save his No. 1 pitcher, junior Ryan Weng (2-4), for the second game, which — if the Miners win against Oak Grove — will be either De Queen or Ashdown.
“Normally in a post-season tournament, you like to throw your best out there first,” Mattox said. “But we need to win two, so I’m planning on saving Ryan for that second game.”
Mattox will start sophomore Chris Revas (2-2), whom Oak Grove hasn’t seen this season. Weng, whom neither Ashdown nor De Queen has faced, pitched the entire game against Oak Grove.
Because the tournament is single elimination until the semifinals (there will be a consolation game to determine the second and third runners-up for regional tournament seeding purposes), Mattox said, if Bauxite gets down early against Oak Grove, he “will have to” put in Weng.
“I feel like we have two solid starting pitchers, and either one can get it done against Oak Grove,” he said.
“But I think starting them this way gives us our best chance to win.”
Mattox added, “We still need to play good defense behind them.”
Mattox said he is tinkering with the idea of making some changes to his usual lineup — inserting certain players who have hit the ball well as of late — but no plans have been finalized.
“We’ve got some depth,” he said. “If someone’s not hitting the ball, we can put someone else in there.”
After the regional tournament, the 4A State Tournament will be held at Valley View with the championship game held at the University of Central Arkansas at Conway.