YORK – Seven senior legion baseball teams will be in York this weekend for the Class B, Area 4 district tournament to determine this year’s state representative next weekend in Gering.
The No. 1 seed Valparaiso ball club will not see action until Saturday when it takes on the winner of the No. 5 York Cornerstone Seniors and the No. 4 Fairbury Seniors at 4 p.m. at Levitt Stadium.
York and Fairbury will be the final game on Friday, and that start time is at 7 p.m.
The tournament opener will feature the No. 3 seed Crete squad against No. 6 Schuyler at 1 p.m. to be followed at 4 p.m. with No. 2 seed Aurora and No. 7 Seward.
The York Seniors come into the tournament with a record of 11-17, but head coach Justin Rodrigues does not feel the York record is indicative to what the team can do on the field.
“I’m really proud of this group, and our record doesn’t tell the whole story when it comes to this year,” Rodrigues said. “I am very confident in our group and I really believe we’re going to do big things.”
That optimism by Rodrigues is supported by the Cornerstone Seniors having a 4-2 record against the field, including a pair of lopsided wins against Fairbury, having outscored them 24-4 in two games this season.
York has split with Aurora, winning in Aurora 6-4 and dropping a close 4-2 decision during the Cornerstone Seniors Tournament.
York defeated Seward in their only matchup, 6-4, and the York Seniors lost a one-sided battle to Crete 17-0.
There are several intangibles that would seem to benefit the York Cornerstone Seniors and it starts with being the host of the tournament.
“I think it is really big for us, just for the fact that we don’t have to travel anywhere. Sometimes a lot of time in a car before games does not do much good,” Rodrigues said. “After the games our kids can get home right away. You also add to the fact that with playing at home we can draw bigger crowds and that is always a great thing to have support in the stands.”
When it comes right down to it however, it’s the play on the field that will determine this year’s Class B, Area 4 champion, and defense and pitching are the two big keys that Rodrigues laid out front and center as the two huge keys.
“First we value pitching and defense as our highest priorities. We feel that if we can compete in those two areas our offense is good enough to take us deep into the tournament,” Rodrigues said.
“In the postseason everything is magnified, so errors cost you a little more than they do in the regular season and small ball really comes into play because of the value of every run.
“We will just try to focus on doing the little things right and giving 110 percent.”
The weekend will bring sizzling temperatures and high humidity just to throw another wrench into the mix.
“One thing I have always taken with me from coach (Glen) Snodgrass in football is that we never let the weather affect us or how we play,” Rodrigues said. “That’s something that he always preaches when the weather gets cold during postseason time and I try to relay that same message in baseball when things get hot. We don’t let it affect our play.”
The championship game of the Class B, Area 4 tournament is scheduled for Tuesday night at 5 p.m. with a second game to follow if necessary 30 minutes after the first game.