WACO — Robert E. Lee is getting runners on base and moving them into scoring position.
Touching home plate, though, has been an issue.
Take away two comfortable victories over DeSoto, which finished winless in District 11-5A, and the Red Raiders (15-12) scored more than four runs just twice in their other eight league games.
Lee looks to remedy that when REL opens a best-of-three Class 5A bi-district playoff series today against A&M Consolidated.
Game 1 will begin at 7:30 p.m. at Waco ISD’s Veterans Field.
Things resume Friday with Game 2, and if necessary Game 3, at 4 p.m. at Veterans Field.
“We’ve been pitching really well and at times we play good defense to go with that,” said Lee coach Mike Pirtle. “We just haven’t been getting runners in. We’ve been getting them on (base) and getting them over, but not in.”
Lee dropped its final District 11-5A game, 5-2, last Friday at Mesquite to finish third in the final standings. A&M Consolidated (18-9) won its final league game to clinch second place in 12-5A.
This is the second postseason meeting in three years between Lee and Consolidated. The teams meet in 2010 in the regional quarterfinals with REL sweeping the best-of-three series. In the first of those victories, REL overcame a complete game from Consolidated then-sophomore Riley Ferrell to win 3-2.
Ferrell is now a senior and has already signed with TCU. With a fastball Pirtle said has been clocked in the mid-90s, Ferrell poses a significant challenge for REL as it looks to break out offensively.
“He’s the real deal,” Pirtle said. “We just have to get in there and get after it.”
Lee counters with junior Zach Flanagan, who pitched complete games in two of his last three outings. He enters with a 2.03 ERA and 53 strikeouts in 38 innings.
“It seems like every time he gets on the mound he gets better,” Pirtle said. “They’ve got some good pitching (too) and played a lot of good competition. It will be a good team for us to match up with.”