By CLINT FOSTER
The regular season is in the rearview mirror and, as head coach David Tarver expected, the Mineral Wells Lady Rams will play a best-of-three series with the Graham Lady Blues to start the Class 3A, Region 1 and 3 softball playoffs.
The first game is set for 8 p.m. today at Kessler Field. The Lady Rams will then travel to Graham, Friday, for game two at 5 p.m. and, if necessary, game three immediately afterward.
It's a familiar position for the Lady Rams, who played the role of underdogs against the Lady Blues in last year's bi-district playoff series and won the final two games of the three-game series to survive and advance.
This year, the tables have turned.
After a 24-7 season with a second-place finish and 8-2 record in District 6-3A, it's the Lady Rams who are the favorites heading into this year’s matchup.
As if the Lady Rams weren't already familiar enough with Graham – having played the Lady Blues seven times in the previous two season – Mineral Wells had marked success against this year's Graham squad, earning wins in both meetings by scores of 12-0 and 10-0.
"We're very familiar with Graham and have lots to draw from," Tarver said. "In the 18 years I've been here, we've played them between 30 and 40 times. Our focus is on being sharp and making the routine plays. I believe as long as we make those routine plays with no major blemishes, we're the better team and will come out on top."
Tarver said practice has gone well for the Lady Rams in preparation for the series. They have benefitted from a lighter load and some extra time to sleep and recharge for the postseason stretch.