The 10-game sprint for the District 9-4A title jumps out of the blocks Tuesday with a showdown of top-four teams in 4A.
No. 1 Argyle visits No. 4 Decatur at 7:30 p.m. at Eagle Field in the league opener with both teams looking to grab an early advantage in the race for the league crown and top playoff seed.
“We’re looking forward to it,” said Decatur ace pitcher Bryce Elder. “I know they are a good team. If we play well, it’ll be a good game. We’ve got to come out ready to play.”
Argyle is 11-0-1 on the season with a majority of its lineup back from last year’s region finalist.
“It’s going to be tough. Argyle has just as good of pitching, can run and swing it,” said Decatur coach Brian Tickell.
But Decatur is not backing down from the challenge after playing Argyle the past two seasons and getting a split. Decatur lost a 1-0 decision last year to Argyle.
“They are a really good team but we’re not afraid of them,” Tickell said. “We know we can compete with them. It’s a matter of who’s firing on all cylinders.”
Elder will make the start against Argyle. He has allowed just two runs on seven hits in nine innings over two starts since joining the team after the basketball playoffs. He’s piled up 21 strikeouts.
“I look forward to it. If I make my pitches, I’m confident I’ll be OK,” he said. “I’ll have my defense behind me.”
Decatur has already beat one team in the top 10 this season – Godley, 14-0.
The Eagles dropped a 5-0 decision in its first game back from spring break Friday at Iowa Park. Decatur will take on Kennedale at 1:30 p.m. Saturday.
Before the shutout, Decatur had scored 21 runs over its previous two games against Brock and Maypearl.
“We’ve made a couple of changes from last year and we’re hitting more consistently,” said Derek Potts.
After opening with Argyle, Decatur will go to rival Bridgeport Friday.
“If we come out and beat Argyle, it’ll be a huge confidence boost for us to start district,” said leadoff hitter Tyler Ticknor.
“We’re confident in ourselves and what we can do. We’re ready to go out and get after the No. 1 team.”