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March 21, 2013

Demons prepare for Shawnee Festival

DUNCAN — The NCAA basketball tournament is well under way, but tournament time in Duncan is just getting started.

The Demons (5-1) baseball team will try to win its sixth straight game when it begins the Shawnee Festival on Friday.

Duncan will begin play against No. 8 Binger-Oney (8-3) Friday and then face the Oklahoma City Bronchos Saturday.

“It’s a great chance for us to continue getting better as a team against two quality opponents we wouldn’t normally face,” Demons coach Tim Hightower said. “We’re going to continue to compete and try to improve offensively and defensively.”

The team enters the festival after sweeping district opponents Southeast and Ardmore in the last two weeks. Duncan had no trouble with Southeast, outscoring them by 18 in their doubleheader wins, but dug deep to beat Ardmore by two and three runs.

Hightower attributes the recent success to the leadership of the team’s seniors and Duncan’s fight in close contests.

“The overall attitude this year is the biggest difference,” Hightower said. “These guys never give up and we have a lot of players who have the experience to handle close games.”

Despite a winning streak where they have averaged almost ten runs per game, Hightower expects the team’s offense to become more productive as the season goes on.

“We haven’t hit the ball as well as we can, but we’ve been finding ways to win,” Hightower said.

The team will face an early test in its opener against the Class A Bobcats, who have won three of their last four.

“When you’re facing a small school like them, they’re going to have a scrappy team,” Hightower said. “Those are always tough games to play.”

Binger-Oney has thrived at home with an 8-2 record, but hasn’t been challenged in away games, dropping its only road game this season to Hobart.

Much of the Bobcats’ success has come from their work on the mound, as they’ve only allowed two of the eleven teams they’ve faced to score four runs or more.

Duncan will then face the Oklahoma City Bronchos, a team with players that mostly compete year round.

Play against Binger-Oney will begin at 4:30 p.m. Friday and the Demons will take on the Bronchos at the same time on Saturday.

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