Milano hoping to keep up year-long playoff streak
It has been a successful year for Milano athletics, reaching the post-season in football, volleyball, boys and girls basketball, softball and now baseball. The football and boys basketball squads won their first round bouts in the post-season and this weekend the Eagle sluggers will get their chance.
Milano will face Riesel (13-6) in a Class A bi-district best of three series at Waco Connally High School on Friday and Saturday. Friday’s game will start at 7 p.m., with Saturday’s set for a 2:30 p.m. first pitch. If necessary, a game three would be held 30 minutes after the conclusion of game two on Saturday.
Riesel was tied atop 25A standings with Mart and Bremond at the end of the regular season. The three teams played a tiebreaker tourney on Saturday. Riesel lost to Mart, then Mart beat Bremond. That left Mart as the first place representative from the district, Bremond in second and Riesel in third.
This is just the third time in program history that the Eagles have reached the playoffs. They made it to the post- season in 1998 and 2000. In 1998 they reached the area round.
Second year head coach Jayce Rasberrywillleadhisteam against a squad who he says is pretty good.
“ They are pretty good and made the playoffs a few years in a row and are senior lead,” Rasberry said of Riesel. But don’t count the Eagles out.
“We are looking for a win. If we play well we should win.”
Both teams will rely on their top two pitchers to get through the series. Rasberry said he looks to start senior Thomas Sanders on Friday night and then fellow senior Jordan Hinistroza on Saturday afternoon to hopefully close out the series for Milano.
The Indians top two hurlers are senior Trey Swartzenberg and junior Justin Watson.
Swartzenberg has an ERA of 4.29 and is 4-2 on the season with 53 strikeouts and 33 walks. He is also the top batter for Riesel with a .557 batting average, including 34 hits and 35 runs batted in.
Watson is 6-2 on the year with an ERA of 3.05. He’s recorded 56 strikeouts and just 19 walks. He has given up just one extra base hit all season.
The Eagles’ defense will have to be on its guard as Riesel players have stolen 110 bases on 113 attempts this season.
“They are about like us, with two key pitchers,” Rasberry said of the Indians. “If we can get into their pitching staff then we have a good chance.”
Milano will have to shake some rust off as they have not played a game since finishing up district play on April 25.
“The guys are coming out every day, working hard in practice and fine tuning things, just like everyone else is,” Rasberry said.
The winner of the Milano-Riesel series will move on to face No. 8 Fayetteville in the area round of the Class A state playoffs.
The Eagles have faced Fayetteville earlier this season, losing to them 6-5 in the title game of the Burton Tournament March 12.
MILANO VS. RIESEL
Who—Milano Eagles (12-4) vs.
Riesel Indians (13-6).
What—Class A, Region IV, Bidistrict playoff.
When—Friday, 7 p.m.; Saturday,
2:30 p.m. (third game to follow
Where—Waco Connally High
District—Milano was second
in District 26A; Riesel co-25A
champions with Mart and Bremond, but loss tiebreaker to go
to post-season in third place
Last playoff appearance—Milano 2000.
Indian to watch—No. 20, Sr.
Trey Swartzenberg (.557, 35