Talented, tested T-M awaits Victoria West in area playoffs
May 2, 2012 at 12:02 a.m.
After disposing of San Antonio Brackenridge in the Class 4A bi-district playoffs, the real work begins for the Victoria West Warriors.
The Warriors take on the Tuloso-Midway Cherokees in a three-game area playoff series beginning Thursday.
"It's going to be a motivator for us to come out and experience some good competition," said West coach Courtney Rigamonti. "It's going to be a good fight for the girls and to overcome it will be a better motivator for them to go even further in the playoffs."
The series opens at the Victoria Youth Sports Complex on Thursday before moving to Tuloso-Midway for Game 2 on Friday. Game 3, if necessary, will be played Saturday in Sinton.
The series will serve as a bit of a district preview for the next two years as the Cherokees move into District 30-4A beginning in the 2012-13 school year.
The Cherokees come into the series as one of the stronger Class 4A teams from the Corpus Christi area with experience from a run to the regional semifinals and an NCAA Division I bound pitcher in Kristin Schwirtlich, who has signed with Houston Baptist.
As a junior in 2011, Schwirtlich went 22-12 on the mound, including an area playoff win over Victoria East.
Rigamonti saw Schwirtlich last season as a Titans assistant.
"I know she's got good speed, and she has different pitches with good movement on them," Rigamontis said. "She's a strong leader and confident on the mound, so I know she's going to come after us.
"We're going to have to be aggressive at the plate and go after her pitches when we see them."
Rigamonti added that the Cherokees aren't comparable to any team West has faced and the Warriors will need to bring their "A" game in order to win.
In their 9-1 bi-district victory over Brackenridge, the Warriors and Eagles were tied at 1-1 until West broke through with an eight-run seventh inning to break the game open.
"In the end it came down to the whole team stepping up," Rigamonti said. "In the seventh inning, we finally batted around and got the hits we needed.
"We got runners on base for the big hitters to bring in and took advantage of a couple of errors."
In the game, Warriors starter Karly Rae Hoerig struck out six batters and earned the victory.
Emily Skipper led the way at the plate, going 3 for 4 with three RBIs.
Rigamonti added playoff games are sometimes decided by mistakes and who makes the opposition pay for them like the Warriors did against the Eagles, who committed four errors in the bi-district game.
"It's going to be a game on who can take advantage of little errors to make things happen," Rigamonti said. "Otherwise, it's going to be a long game. It's going to be a battle."