May 30—By the time East Union opens its Class 2A championship series against Taylorsville this week, it will have gone nearly two weeks between games.
The Urchins last played on Friday, May 21, when they finished off a two-game sweep of Pisgah. They face Taylorsville at Trustmark Park in Pearl on Wednesday for Game 1 of the best-of-three series.
Has the anticipation been killing them?
“This bunch is a little different,” coach Chris Basil said. “They don’t get too high or too low. They’re pretty easygoing. …
“They’re ready to go whenever we play, whoever we play, and just go from there.”
The state championships are being played later than normal this year due to the schedule of the Mississippi Braves, the minor league baseball team that occupies Trustmark Park.
The layoff allowed the Urchins (27-5) to take some well-earned time off before returning to the practice field on Wednesday.
“The kids need a break, too, but it’s hard to take a break in this game when you’ve been playing as well as we have,” Basil said.
Saltillo coach Eric Reynolds shares that sentiment. His Tigers have been off since beating Lafayette on May 21 for a two-game sweep, and they’ll face Pascagoula in the 5A finals starting Tuesday.
“Any time you get in a playoff scenario, your team gets hot and you’re winning, you want to play those games as quickly as possible,” Reynolds said. “But this year’s playoff structure has been different from any other year. It’s been a hurry-up-and-wait anyway.”
He said his players have become accustomed to the odd postseason schedule, and they’re taking advantage of this time off. The Tigers (24-10) are able to focus on different parts of the game at practice each day while also giving younger players extra work.
“Our guys, they’re excited, but at the same time we’ve learned how to bide your time, stay within the moment,” Reynolds said. “That’s been huge for us, staying within the moment, and be where your feet are.”
This layoff was perfectly timed for Booneville coach Kevin Williams and his wife, Morgan. They welcomed their second child into the world on Tuesday.
“Our due date wasn’t until Saturday, but she chose to go in and be induced so we could have a few days in between,” Williams said. “She made a pretty big team decision right there.”
The Blue Devils (24-10) open their 3A series against Magee on Tuesday. They took things easy most of last week and began preparing for the finals this weekend.
“Thirty-four games in, man, you’ve got tired arms, tired legs, catchers catching back to back days. Trying to rest up a little bit, and we were able to do that,” Williams said.