The Grapeland Sandiettes will face off against the Harleton Ladycats at 6:30 p.m. on Friday in Lindale in a one-game series.
The winner of the game will move on to face the winner of the Windthorst/Petrolia series in the state championship series in Austin.
Grapeland is coming off a series win against Zavalla, but coach Jim Dillard said he expects the upcoming match against Harleton to be even more difficult as the team moves further into the playoffs.
“Harleton is a disciplined team,” Dillard said. “They are solid at every position defensively, and every batter in the lineup is dangerous. Coach Kniffen does a great job each year preparing his team, and their performance last week against Beckville was very impressive.”
With the end of the school year and with a trip to Austin on the line, sometimes there can be distractions to a team that is this close to the end.
Dillard said even with the distractions, the Sandiettes are looking to tune those things out and focus on the game at hand.
“This time of year, there are so many distractions it is easy for teams to lose focus,” Dillard said. “Near the end of the school year, there are many other activities going on that many of our athletes are involved: senior trip, academic banquets, athletic banquets and many other end-of-the-year events. The idea is to stay the course and remind our kids to stay focused on their goals.”
With the season coming to a close with just a few series left, Dillard said he has appreciated the hard work that the Sandiettes have put forth this season and is excited for the final push to make it to Austin.
“I am very proud of our girls for their commitment and hard work this season,” Dillard said. “Our goal all season has been to find a way to Austin and see what we can accomplish as a team. As a group, they have overcome a lot of adversity this year, and I am just proud to be a part of this team.”