The Blooming Grove Lions will try to avoid a second consecutive bi-district exit this weekend, when they kick off a three-game playoff series with Aubrey.

Blooming Grove finished third in District 14-2A and Aubrey — after beating Prosper and falling to Celina in tiebreakers — ended up second out of District 13-2A to set up the Region II bi-district series.

The teams will start Game 1 Thursday at 7:30 p.m., then play Game 2 Friday at 7:30 p.m. Game 3, if necessary, will take place at 1 p.m. Saturday. The entire series will be played at Mansfield Summit High School.

Lions first-year coach Matt Anderson knows that advancing on to area will be no cakewalk.

“They’re a pretty solid baseball team,” he said of Aubrey. “They don’t make a lot of mistakes, they put the ball in play. From what I saw in those two games, they kind of hang around the ballgame. They’re not flashy but they compete pretty good.

“I feel like we have a pretty good shot against them. Their ace is a left-handed pitcher. He threw (Monday) and he threw pretty well. We’ve got to prepare for that.”

Last season, the Lions dropped two consecutive games to Celina in bi-district to make an early exit.

Anderson is optimistic with the three-game series as opposed to one-game matchup, since it gives each team an opportunity to recover.

“I think it gives our kids a chance to play,” he said. “If we make a mistake in one game, we can always come back and win one or two. If you have two equal teams, the better team will come out in a three-game series.”

Anderson hadn’t penciled in a Game 1 starter through Tuesday, but said it would likely be either Jeff Feldmann or Chris Derden — both of whom he feels confident with on the mound.

The Lions will also have a reliable third pitching option in sophomore Ryan Jones, who joined the team three weeks ago after coming off an all-district campaign as a freshman.

“He’ll be able to play in the series, and we plan on using him,” Anderson said. “He can play a couple positions for us and gives us an extra bat in the lineup that we need. It’s very possible he could pitch that third game. He’s ready to go when we need him.”

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Joel Weckerly may be contacted via e-mail at jweckerly@corsicanadailysun.com

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