H-P Sports Editor

Elkhart head coach John Adair called the Elks loss to Grapeland on March 31 a wake up call.

Since that loss, which put Elkhart a half-game behind Grapeland for the district lead, the Elks have won four straight district games including clinching a playoff berth and the Elks are now in the driver’s seat for the district title.

“We came out flat in that game and did not play real well,” Adair said. “We have had a lot of success here and that kind of hurt us going into that game.

“But we got the wake up call and now are playing with more of a sense of urgency.”

Elkhart has had good success in baseball over the last three decades. With a win over Kerens last week, the Elks clinched their 26th playoff appearance in 30 years. If Elkhart wins two of its remaining three games, the Elks will win their 20th district title in 30 years.

“These kids grow up understanding how big baseball is in Elkhart,” Adair said. “They want to be a part of it.”

The win over Kerens also was a milestone for Adair as it was his 300th win as a head coach. Adair won his first ever game in 1990 as the Elkhart head coach.

“It is a nice milestone to have and it was nice to have done it back here,” Adair said. “Maybe when the season is over I will be able to reflect on it but right now my main concern is the success of my team this year.”

Elkhart will travel to Malakoff and to Grapeland in the next two games and then will finish the season at home against Frankston. By winning two of those three games, Elkhart will win the district title.

“These kids understand the situation,” Adair said. “We are glad to have clinched a playoff berth and that was our first goal, but we also want to get a district title.”

Elkhart will be facing a Malakoff team that struggled at the beginning of the season but has come on strong in the last month and is also making a move for the district title if the Tigers can win their final three games.

“Malakoff started out struggling because their pitchers were not throwing strikes,” Adair said. “But they have upset some folks and continue to play better baseball.”

Elkhart will start Clay Yonts, who is 8-1 on the season and has an ERA under 2.00.

“Clay is a little under the radar but he has pitched real well for us,” Adair said. “When his curve is on, he is really tough.”

Adair also has seen his team hitting better than it had during the middle of the season.

“During the Grapeland game and a couple of games after that, we were just doing enough to get by with our hitting and I was not pleased with our approach,” Adair said. “But we have gotten back to being aggressive at the plate and are hitting the ball well.”

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