When the Mansfield baseball team squares off with Fort Worth Paschal on Friday, the game will feature two of last year’s playoff teams that are now district rivals.
Paschal was second in District 4-6A last season and reached the regional quarterfinals before losing to Amarillo, while Mansfield finished third in 8-6A and lost to Southlake Carroll in bi-district.
Mansfield opened the two-game series on Tuesday night, and Tigers coach James Davis said he expected it to be a hard-fought contest.
“I expect a competitive series vs. Paschal,” Davis said. “They have a solid program. We will need to focus on the things we can control, have quality at-bats, play sound defense and compete on the mound.”
Never miss a local story.
Key matchups in the game include Panthers pitcher Austin Smith vs. Mansfield’s Dillon Eatman, Justin Marino, Max McCarthy and Onmar Jackson.
The Tigers were 5-5-1 on the season heading into Thursday’s game with Seagoville, and Davis said he believes his team has been well groomed for the travails of 4-6A competition.
“We have had a very competitive non-district tournament schedule,” Davis said. “I am confident our team is prepared to compete in a very competitive district schedule.”
Davis added that he is impressed with the level at which his team is competing as district gets underway and expects to make a smooth transition into district competition.
“We have a team that loves playing together and has very good chemistry,” Davis said. “I feel as long as we focus on the things we can control, we have a chance to be competitive in a very good baseball district.”
In order to have a good run in district and have the chance to claim one of the top four spots at the end of the season, Davis said it will take focus and execution from his players.
“Our success will come down to how well we execute the little things,” Davis said. “That means competitive pitching, quality at-bats and sound defense. If we take care of those fundamental things I feel very confident this team will have a great season.”
Mansfield will host Paschal at 7 p.m. Friday.