Eagles, Rams take momentum into playoffs

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Oran will visit Cooter, while Scott City will travel to South Pemiscot.

At the midway point of the baseball season Oran found itself stumbling through a three-game losing streak during a weekend tournament on its home field.

The Eagles struggled in nearly every aspect of the game that weekend, dropping to 11-4. Since then, Oran has won 12 straight and appears to be clicking on all cylinders heading into today's sectional game.

Oran will travel to Cooter, the team which began its three-game losing streak, for a 4:30 p.m. start.

"They are a good ballclub, no doubt about that," Oran coach Mitch Wood said of Cooter. "We are definitely playing a little better right now, but they had a lot to do with how we played [that game]. They hit the ball well against us. They pitch and defend pretty well, and they hit the ball and put it in play."

Since dropping three straight, Oran's offense has dominated opponents. The Eagles have scored six or more runs in each of their last nine games.

Oran (23-4) scored 48 runs in its three district games, capped with a 12-2 rout of Bernie in the district championship game.

The Eagles also trot out at least three legitimate No. 1 pitchers. Senior left-hander Chase Seyer threw the district championship game and has pitched in big games throughout his career. Steven Dooley was all-state last year as a sophomore for Chaffee, and junior Alex Chasteen is 6-0 this season.

"It's definitely a different situation. Different than I've been in," Wood said of his pitching depth. "We'll look at the situation and go with who we feel is the best."

The Eagles have an impressive streak they will try to keep alive with today's sectional game. Oran has made it to the state final four in each of its past six state playoff appearances. Cooter (18-8), on the other hand, lost in the sectional last year in its only state playoff appearance.

"They're no strangers to the postseason," Wood said of his squad. "They know this time of year they need to be playing well or you go home."

Class 2 sectional

Scott City is back in the sectional round for the second time in three years, and the Rams (16-6) bring one of the most intimidating pitchers to the table today when they visit South Pemiscot (21-5) in a Class 2 sectional at 5 p.m.

Rams junior Ryan Modglin is one of the hardest throwing hurlers in the region. Modglin has allowed just two hits in his last four starts and has averaged double-digit strikeouts during the stretch.

"It's a big relief [having him on the mound]," first-year Scott City coach Lance Amick said. "They know if they can go and put three or four runs on the board they have a good shot of winning. When he's on the mound it changes a lot of things in the game, the way the other team approaches things. It puts a lot of pressure on them."

After getting off to a slow start, the Rams have won 12 of their last 13 games. Scott City has a good mix of seniors and younger players throughout its lineup. The top of the order has been particularly dangerous, with Modglin, Cody Carlyle, Blake Dirnberger and Rynn Eskew leading the way.

"We've got a good amount of confidence going in," Amick said. "Our defense has been solid throughout. We're hitting the ball well. Even on our bad games we're scoring four or five runs. And when Ryan's on the mound we're real confident. I think we expect to win, and that's a big part of winning."

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