DALLAS — The Demarini Dirtbags are hoping that there’s no place like home as the team hosts an Oregon American Legion Baseball AAA Super Regional this weekend.
The Dirtbags split a doubleheader against Withnell of Salem, dropping the first game 7-4 before winning the finale 7-6, on Sunday to finish the regular season 10-5 in league play and 28-14 overall. That was good enough for second place behind Salem in the American Legion AAA Baseball Area III standings.
More importantly for the Dirtbags, they clinched the right to host the four-team super regional at Dallas High with a trip to the state tournament at Grants Pass on the line.
“I think we’re in a good spot,” Dirtbags coach Miles Kizer said. “We have been playing pretty well lately and really swinging the bat well, especially at home. It will be nice to play in our home yard and sleep in our own beds.”
The Dirtbags begin postseason play Friday at 5 p.m. With a win, the squad plays Saturday at 2 p.m.; a loss and the Dirtbags face an elimination game Saturday at 11 a.m.
The super regional championship game is scheduled Sunday at 1 p.m., with a second game to follow, if necessary.
“(Our mindset) really shouldn’t change,” Kizer said. “You just have to trust your process. No matter who we play, we’re going to take it one game at a time, compete and see what happens at the end.”
Local players Seth Fast, Logan Hatley, Dakota Nelson, Jarett Peterson, Tucker Weaver and Wes Riddell will likely play a big role for the Dirtbags, both at the plate and on defense.
But these six players’ biggest impact may come on the mound. Each serves on the pitching staff in addition to secondary positions — and in the postseason, it’s the pitchers who are the key to a victory, Kizer said.
“Any time you get into a postseason situation, I think the biggest thing is going to be pitching,” Kizer said. “You have to throw strikes and attack hitters.”