Regardless of the outcome of this weeks home-and-home baseball series between Gregori and Enochs high schools, both are a good bet to reach the Sac-Joaquin Section playoffs.
The teams share the lead in the Modesto Metro Conference standings with matching 7-1 league records, 2½ games clear of Beyer and Modesto.
But Enochs coach Chris Butterfield isnt thinking about the playoffs just yet.
Its about school pride and playing for an MMC title, said Butterfield, whose Eagles play host to the Jaguars today at 3:45 p.m. Its not a must-win, but its just shy of that if its not a must-win.
To be sure, the loser of todays game could come back and win on Thursday, putting the teams right back where they started tied atop the conference standings.
Thursdays game is really the most important. Todays loser will be desperate to hold serve come Thursday, while todays winner will be looking to put a stranglehold on the leagues No. 1 playoff seed.
The top three finishers in the MMC advance to the postseason, which gets underway May 12.
After we play this week, we only have two league games left, said Gregori coach Rob Steves, pointing out that the Jags and Eagles dont have much time to make a big move in the standings. Theres no doubt about it these are two 7-1 teams that are playing for something.
Hopefully, its two good games.
Gregori plans to start Todd Stewart Our regular Tuesday guy, as Steves calls him and Jeff Gray on Thursday. In league play, the left-handed Stewart is 2-0 with a 0.34 ERA and 16 strikeouts and five walks in 20 1/3 innings pitched. Gray is 4-0 in MMC action, with a 2.33 ERA and 23 strikeouts and eight walks in 21 innings of work.
Butterfield is undecided on todays starter, but hes penciled in sophomore right-hander C.J. Hackett to take the bump on Thursday.
Hackett is 3-0 in league with a 1.40 ERA.
Already this season, Hacketts been the winner in two gut-check games a 1-0 win over Beyer and 2-1 win over Downey.
C.J.s a guy that can be a bulldog for us, said Butterfield. Hes growing up quickly on the varsity mound. He wants the ball.