This season hasn’t gone as planned for two-time defending Class A state baseball champion Papillion-La Vista South, but that could all change Saturday.
That’s when the 16-11 Titans begin district play at Millard North.
“I keep telling our guys that we’re very close to being one of the top teams,” head coach Bill Lynam said. “If we just make one or two more plays per game, I think we’re right there in the mix.”
All six of the Class A districts start Saturday. Papio South’s first test in the A-4 district will be at 2:30 p.m. against Grand Island.
The Titans are seeking some consistency following a regular season that saw the team struggle to gain momentum. Papio South’s longest win streak was four, which was followed by four straight losses.
“Our pitching and our defense have held up well,” Lynam said. “But our hitting hasn’t been there. We haven’t been able to put pressure on defenses and make things happen.”
To qualify for the eight-team state tournament, the Titans — 10th in Nebraska School Activities Association wild-card points — probably will need to win their district. If Papio South gets by the Islanders on Saturday, it would advance to play the winner of the game between Millard North and Omaha North.
“Winning our district and getting back to state was one of our goals at the start of the season,” Lynam said. “Now we have to go out and make it happen.”
The Titans might gain confidence knowing how close they have come to beating top-ranked Omaha Creighton Prep. Papio South lost to the Junior Jays 2-1 last week in the Don Kraft/Millard South Invitational and led Prep 3-1 in the sixth inning Monday before losing 7-3.
“Things haven’t fallen into place the way we’d hoped,” Lynam said. “But we still have a chance to turn that around.”
District semifinals take place Saturday in both classes, with all 12 finals scheduled for Monday night. The six district champions and two wild cards in each class advance to the double-elimination state tournaments that begin May 12 in Lincoln.
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