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|Monterey visits Bethany Christian|
The playoffs are nothing new to Bethany Christian High of Baton Rouge.
Every game in District 8B is like a playoff game.
Last year, Bethany Christian lost to district opponent Runnels 2-0 in the Class B semifinals. Runnels beat Zwolle in the finals after Zwolle defeated Houma Christian, which also competes in 8B.
"It's like the SEC where every single game has meaning," Bethany Christian coach Rick Smith said of his district. "It's a nice preparation for the playoffs."
Bethany Christian (18-3) finished 5-1in district this year to win its second outright district title in three years.
The Lions host Monterey Thusrday at 4 p.m.
Monterey is 6-12 on the season, having beaten Harrisonburg twice in its last two games.
"It's a tough draw," said Monterey coach Eric Richard. "They have one of the best programs in Class B. They are a really good hitting team and we have to keep our walks and errors down because they make you pay. We're going in and letting it all hang out. I'm excited about it and the kids are excited about the challenge."
Richard said eighth-grader Hunter Frye will likely get the start.
"We'll probably use two or three pitchers," he said. "We need to get something going early. If we can score one or two runs in our first at-bat it would help us settle down and possibly put a little pressure on them."
Smith said he returns two senior starters, one junior who started and four sophomore starters.
"We had two kids in the middle of our lineup who could really bang the ball nad one of them is at LSU-Eunice now," Smith said. "We lost some punch. We retained a lot of our pitching staff and are pretty sound on defense. We're a little different this year in that we rely on the timely hits."
Senior southpaw Ben Myers made all-state as a sophomore, while right-hander Franky Hebert was all-state as a junior last year.
"I like to call them both my No. 1 starter," Smith said. "We have one and A-1."
Smith said his team will not take Monterey lightlly.
"We take this very serious," he said. "This is our third season. We have pre-district, district and now the playoffs. The players will determine where we go from here."
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