LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) - The Area round of the UIL softball playoffs is just days away and East Texas teams are preparing for their next challenges.
Central and Lufkin are heading into round two hot at the plate and looking to continue the streaks they are on.
In 3A Central eliminated Coldspring Oakhurst from the playoffs winning 2 straight in a best-of-three series. The Lady Bulldogs not only won, they shut out the Lady Trojans 26-0. In the 6A level, Lufkin had a similar performance, knocking off Rockwall Heath 25-4 over their two games played in Whitehouse.
Lufkin took a day off from Morris Frank Park and practiced on the turf of Abe Martin Stadium, where spectators are used to watching the Panthers perform under Friday Night Lights.
"We played on turf today because we are going to play on turf against Coppell," second baseman Yami Valdez said. "I like it better because of the hops. We are confident. We are going to do this and go big."
The Lady Pack will play under different circumstances. Coach Shelby Elkins proposed to Coppell a one game round and got her way. There is no room for error if they want to move on.
"We are a better fast speed hitting team where it is going to throw Coppell off because they haven't faced anyone yet like Smiley Radke," Elkins said. "I wanted the one game series. In district the first time through we went undefeated. The second time through, we lost two games. Teams were able to prepare for Smiley and with her being our go to I did not want Coppell to get that chance. We are the better team. I believe we have this game."
Central is taking the same approach with East Chambers as they did with Cold Spring.
"With a one game series you run the risk of having one bad game and it ends the season for you," Central coach Kurtis Acosta said. " We talked to their coach and both agreed to the 3 game series. I am confident we can keep the bats hot. I do tell the girls we take it one game at a time. After winning 11-0, we took that approach. None of those runs could go into the next game. It is a new slate. It is 0-0 going into game 1."
Lufkin will play Coppell Friday night in Whitehouse at 8 pm. Central will meet East Chamber in Mumford at 6 pm on Thursday. Game 2 will be 4 pm on Saturday. If a Game 3 is needed the two will play 30 minutes after Game 2.