West Hardin in first playoff since 1991 tonight

 

The West Hardin Oilers are competing in a baseball playoff for the first time since 1991 as they take on Burton tonight at Caney Creek.

The scrappy 2A team located about 30 minutes northwest of Beaumont comes into the playoffs with a subdued 6-18 record overall but are coming with a punchers mentality.

“Im telling our guys they can take tonights game one pitch at a time and we’re all a bunch of high school kids playing against each other,” said Oilers baseball coach Matthew Calvert.

“They’re going to make some plays and we’re going to make some plays and the game will start zero-zero.”

The West Hardin season has been tumultuous at times as participation numbers were down to start the season, but the team came together the second half of the season and eventually won a playoff play-in game Saturday vs Sabine Pass 12-2.

“We had some kids not come out to play this year coupled with the wet weather we had some people playing out of position,” said Calvert.

“It took us about half the year to get players in the right positions but now we’re comfortable with what we have.  Our kids put in work every single day and know that we are here to play.”

West Hardin will be led by two pitchers who entered the season as mound neophytes.  Senior Bryce Hazelwood converted to pitching just this season and ace McCade Cotten is a freshman in his first varsity season.  

The top hitters for the Oilers are freshman third baseman Rodie Ruffino and junior Jake Strahan.  

The winner of the West Hardin vs Burton series will take on the winner of the Thorndale vs Brazos series in the area round.

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