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Bobcats on the prowl

Opp’s hungry and it will be vying for a first round victory over Jackson tonight in the Class 4A state playoffs at Merchants Field.

The Bobcats finished their area domination last Friday night against Brewbaker Tech, where they won the area title and the right to host after Brewbaker Tech lost the first game 13-3.

Last season, Opp didn’t make it to the playoffs and baseball coach Michael Cassady said it was “disappointing” for the players.

“They’re not satisified with winning 20 games,” he said. “It’s been 15 years since we’ve won 20 games. It’s been two years since we’ve hosted the playoffs and won the area. They want to take it round by round. It’s a new season for Jackson and it’s a new season for Opp.”

Recently, Jackson has seen its fair share of post-season play.

Two years ago, the Aggies won the state title and three years ago they went to the third round.

“They’ve got a lot of experience,” Cassady said.

Cassady said the list of

“keys” for tonight’s game is long, but insists it is exactly what the team needs to do to advance in the playoffs.

“We’ve got to throw strikes and pitch well,” he said. “We’ve got to locate pitches well because they hit the ball so well. We’ve go to make the plays on defense — the routine plays especially. We can’t give them any extra outs.

“We also can’t get behind in the count on the mound,” he said. “That’s the standpoint from pitching and defense. Offensively, we’ve got to hit the baseball. We’ve got to move runners around the best way possible whether we bunt, hit or steal.

“That’s a lot of keys, but that’s really what we’ve got to do.”

Cassady said he hasn’t decided who he will start on the mound tonight, but one plan is to try and match Jackson in everything they do.

“Our strategy is that we’re going to try and match defensively and do something offensively,” he said. “It’s like being mirror images of each other.”

Cassady said this week at practice has been good leading up to today’s contests. Thursday night was prom for Opp, and Jackson has been out of school for spring break.

“We had a good day (Tuesday),” Cassady said. “In the intersquad game, one team jumped on the other team in the first three innings and the other team battled back for a tie.”

The first round of the playoffs is played in a best-out-of-three games format. Games tonight in Opp are at 4:30 and 7. If needed, both teams will play at 2 p.m. on Saturday.