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A year after climbing the state polls to no. 2 in Texas, only to be upset by Laredo United in bi-district, the Rattlers are readying themselves for another shot at making an historical run through the postseason. Bart Bickerton’s ball club is now no. 7 in the state polls and will be facing Eagle Pass Winn.
Fortunately, there is at least one thing going the team’s way.
While the 2012 Rattlers are not as dominate as last year’s team, they seemed primed for a good playoff run. The first thing going their way is not only starting off with fourth-place Eagle Pass Winn, but they will benefit from having a two-of-three series format. Bickerton’s team has been stung by the one-game playoff in the past and the multiple-game format will allow the full strength of the Rattlers to be shown. No doubt that Eric Gutierrez, Francisco Martinez and Tres Barrera will play key roles as the team’s leading pitchers.
That is not to say the game will be easy. The games will be in Laredo and Winn is no pushover. The Mavericks were 13-5 in league play, vying for runner-up status throughout the season.
If Sharyland wins, they will face the winner of Harlingen South and Los Fresnos.
Fellow 30-5A postseason invitee Mission will have their hands full as they face the Alexander Bulldogs. Playing just one-game will be an advantage to the Eagles as they seek an upset over the 29-5A champs. What an upset it would be as it was just last year that the Bulldogs made it all the way to the regional finals.
If the Eagles are able to secure an upset, they will face the winner of San Benito and Edinburg.
The big question mark will be the Palmview Lobos. Participating in bi-district for the first time in its school’s history, the Lobos hope to take down Laredo United, the third place finisher from District 29. The two teams will be playing in Robstown in a best-of-three series. The victor will take on the winner of PSJA and Weslaco. PSJA is considered the top team in the Valley.
In District 32, Juarez-Lincoln will be the lone Big Six representative. As the runner-ups to Rio Grande City, the Huskies will take on Flour Bluff in a one-game playoff. The game will be played at Juarez-Lincoln.
Coming from the traditional-baseball rich area of Corpus Christi, Flour Bluff will be a challenge for Juarez as they too make their first appearance in the postseason. The Hornets finished third in their district, well behind co-champs Calallen and Moody.
With a win, Juarez will move on to take on either San Antonio Brackenridge or Port Lavaca Calhoun.
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The Progress Times is the hometown newspaper for the local communities of Mission, Sharyland, Alton, Palmview, La Joya and surrounding areas in Western Hidalgo County. We have a staff of veteran reporters who work diligently every week to bring our readers the latest news as it affects their hometown area and people.