With eye on the weather, Advance prepares for quarterfinal

Friday, May 24, 2002

The Advance Hornets had a hard time making the rain go away all season.

Now it's the Hornets who are hard to get rid of.

In a wet spring, Advance may hold a rainout futility record. The Hornets had a whopping 21 this season, counting rainouts of rescheduled rainouts. In addition, its only two tournaments -- Notre Dame and Oak Ridge -- were washed away.

And now with just 13 games under their belts, the Hornets (7-6) will make their first Class 1A quarterfinal appearance at 3 p.m. today at home against Oran (18-4).

"Before the season I thought we had good athletes and that our pitching and defense would be good," Advance coach Jim Below said. "I'm real shocked how the boys have responded by not playing as much as we have."

After the first preseason workout, 35 days passed until Advance played its first game. Often forced inside to practice, Below occasionally gave the team a day off. Scheduled to open the season March 19, the opener wasn't played until April 5.

After repeating as District 3 champs as the second seed, Advance avenged last year's sectional loss to Ellington on Wednesday with a 3-2, eight-inning victory.

A hot Oran team stands in the way. The Eagles won their ninth game in a row with a 15-2, five-inning dismantling of Bernie in the sectional round. Oran has outscored its last three opponents 46-8.

"We're going to have to get good pitching," Below said. "Oran is really swinging the bats."

In their only meeting, Oran defeated Advance 3-1 in mid-April.

CLASS 2A

Notre Dame at West County

Notre Dame won its past two quarterfinal appearances and is looking to make it three in a row at 4:30 p.m. today in Leadwood, Mo.

Notre Dame brings in a 17-5 record and has been on an offensive roll. Since the start of the district tournament, the Bulldogs have outscored their four opponents 47-7.

Notre Dame breezed in the sectional round with a 12-1 victory over South Pemiscot, while West County (22-2) squeaked by with a 2-1 win over Twin Rivers.

jbreer@semissourian.com

(573)335-6611, extension 124

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