Oran's baseball team was supposed to be rebuilding this season.
After losing one of the top baseball classes in school history last year, the Eagles were not expected to come into the district tournament clear favorites and ranked in the top five in the state.
But with the help of returning seniors Garrett Roslen and Matt Seyer, along with stellar performances from a largely untested supporting cast, the Eagles could be in line for a third straight trip to the state final four.
"We're pleasantly surprised," Oran coach Mitch Wood said. "We always hope to do well, but if someone would have told me we'd be 17-3, I'd have laughed at them."
Oran's success this season has been due in large part to a team batting average that has neared .400 team at times and currently stands at .368. Nearly all of Oran's regular starters boast averages at or above .300, with two players hitting above .400. Seyer leads the team with a .493 average.
Wood said the team really takes pride in its hitting, but he didn't expect to have so many players hitting so well.
"The hitting has definitely surprised me," he said. "There are some kids hitting a good average that I didn't think would hit all year long."
Oran will play Richland at 10 a.m. today in the tournament opener. Advance has the No. 2 seed, with Chaffee seeded third.
Wood said it should be a competitive district this year.
"Advance is definitely capable of winning it," he said. "This is by far one of the best years, probably three or four could get out of this district."
Class 1 District 3
Leopold, Oak Ridge and Meadow Heights will travel to Valley (Caledonia) High School for the district tournament starting today.
Leopold is the highest local seed, drawing the third seed. The Wildcats will open up against Viburnum. No. 4 Oak Ridge will face No. 5 Meadow Heights on Monday as well.
Class 2 District 2
Kelly High School will host the Class 2 District 2 tournament which should be a fairly wide open tournament.
The Hawks will be joined by local schools St. Vincent, Scott City and Woodland. Kelly has shown flashes this season and will enter the tournament seeded second. St. Vincent is seeded third and will play Woodland in its opener. No. 4 Scott City will face Valle.