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The Duncan baseball team has its spot in the Class 5A regionals secured. It just remains to be seen who the Demons will play.
The Demons’ 9-6 win over Altus Tuesday secured them a top-four placing. Who they will play in the first round depends on the outcome of games in other districts. Those pairings will be revealed Monday.
“Anywhere you go, you’ll have to play a quality team,” said Demon coach Tim Hightower.
Duncan faced Guthrie to open regionals the past two years and lost each time. Hightower believes this year’s team can go farther.
“This team we’ve got is different,” he said. “We can go win anywhere. But we’ve got to play for seven (innings).”
Senior Mason Pewitt said the teamwork is better than it was in previous years.
“The last couple of years, we’ve had more individuals,” he said. “This year, we are more together as a team, and you are more successful that way.”
Fellow senior Skylar Rodriguez said it helped that most of the Demons grew up together.
“We’re all connected and we know each other’s playing styles,” he said. “We are just an all-around good team.”
The Demons don’t necessarily have a standout athlete, but they have different players who can step up at any time. That suits the players fine.
“It’s good that we have a solid lineup throughout and we can rely on each other,” Rodriguez said.
“You don’t have to count on just one or a couple of guys,” he said. “You can count on a lot of guys. That makes it a lot easier.”
Duncan has had its ups and downs, but Hightower said that’s part of high school baseball. He said it’s not unusual to have players be focused against tougher teams, then sometimes get overconfident against teams they should beat.
At the same time, Hightower said, teams like Altus may have losing records, but the records can be deceiving. Altus beat Duncan 15-14 in 12 innings Monday.
“They were a tough team,” he said. “They don’t have as many wins, but they had some tough outings. They’ve got good players.”
The Demons will have shorter practices the next few days, refining a few things to prepare for their final regular-season game Monday at home against Lawton High.
Rodriguez and Pewitt like Duncan’s chances in regionals.
“I think we have a really good team, probably the best team we’ve had the past few years,” Rodriguez said. “We’re going to be really confident.”
Pewitt acknowledges potential regional opponents such as Guthrie, Deer Creek and Bishop McGuinness will be tough. But Pewitt believes he and his teammates are up to the challenge.
“I feel like we have a good chance no matter where we go,” he said. “We just want to try to get over that hump we’ve had before us the last couple of years.”