One season after finishing dead last in the region, the Eisenhower Knights baseball team is back in the postseason.
The Knights (6-10), the second seed out of Region 5, will open the District 10 Class A playoffs at 4 p.m. Monday against Conneaut Lake. That game will be the first of a doubleheader at Ainsworth Field in Erie with the second quarterfinal between Cochranton and Linesville to follow at 6:30 p.m.
Conneaut Lake enters the playoffs with an 11-7 overall record and features a powerful one-two punch on the mound. The team's best pitcher is Kyle Arkwright, but teammate Alex McCann is capable as well. It is likely one of the two will get the ball against Eisenhower Monday.
Arkwright and McCann are also two of the team's biggest threats at the dish and usually are trying to drive home the club's speedy leadoff man, second baseman Cody Slevin.
"I don't know much about them, but they play in a competitive league where all the teams are right around .500," said Ike coach Jon Vincent. "It seems to me they've played a lot of high scoring games which doesn't necessiarly fit our style."
Advancing to the semifinals won't be easy for Eisenhower. The Knights will be without senior pitcher Aaron Jackson. Jackson was the winning pitcher in four of the team's six wins this season and was second on the team with 11 RBI. He also has the team's only homer. According to Ike coach Jon Vincent, Jackson will not pitch this postseason, but could be available to bat.
District 10 Class A Baseball Playoffs
At Ainsworth Field
Conneaut Lake (11-7) vs. Eisenhower (6-10), 4 p.m.
Cochranton (9-8) vs. Linesville (10-9), 6:30 p.m.
Byes: West Middlesex (13-5), Mercyhurst Prep (11-6)
At Ainsworth Field
Mercyhurst Prep vs. Conneaut Lake-Eisenhower winner, TBA
At Slippery Rock's Jack Critchfield Park
West Middlesex vs. Cochranton-Linesville winner, TBA
Site, time to be determined
Vincent will look to sophomore Trevor Spicer to take the ball in the postseason opener.
"Trevor got off to a slow start this season, but he's pitched very well as of late," said Vincent. "We have a lot of confidence in him."
Williams also boasts the team lead in batting average and RBI with a .372 (16-for-43) average and 15 RBI. Aaron Lundmark is next with a .341 (14-for-41) average and nine RBI and freshman Kyle Hunt has also been strong with a .327 (18-for-55) average and nine RBI.
"First and foremost, we can't make mistakes (on Monday)," said Vincent. "The last couple of games we've made a lot of mistakes and they've all cost us runs. We can't afford to do that in the playoffs. Other than that, I need Trevor to keep the ball in the zone and for our guys to play defense behind him. If we do that and hit the ball like we have all season, I think we'll be okay."
The winner of Monday's game advances to Friday's semifinal against Mercyhurst Prep. That game is also scheduled to be played at Ainsworth Field with the D-10 title game slated for Monday, May 28.
Here is the bracket for the District 10 Class A Baseball Playoffs: