Estherville Lincoln Central begins its run on the baseball tournament trail this Saturday.
The Midgets (11-14 overall) will take on Sioux Central (5-23) at 5 p.m. in Spirit Lake in a Class 2A District 2 game.
As indicated by its record, ELC has had a rollercoaster season with the best stretch a three-game win streak with wins over Spirit Lake, Central Lyon and Emmetsburg June 25-28.
ELC then almost defeated Lakes Conference leader LeMars.
However, the Midgets are favored in their first 2013 district game.
Of Sioux Central's five wins, two of them were over a Laurens-Marathon team that has just three wins this season by scores of 15-7 and 6-2. The Rebels' other wins are against Newell-Fonda, Manson-Northwest Webster and Pocahontas Area. Of those three teams, only Manson-Northwest Webster has a winning record at 15-14.
But it is the postseason and every team gets a fresh start.
ELC is led by its eight seniors: outfielder Derek Nieland, outfielder Adam Reiter, pitcher and outfielder Tyler Swanson, first baseman Bryce Hansen, shortstop and pitcher Matt Burrell, utility player Evan Hansen, third baseman and pitcher Tucker Milburn and designated hitter Justin Frederick.
According to quikstatsiowa.com, in 25 games ELC has a team batting average of .229 with 145 hits including 21 doubles, three triples, six home runs and 101 RBIs.
In 27 games, Sioux Central is batting .224 with 152 hits including 11 doubles, one triple, one home run and 70 RBIs.
ELC is 3-6 in games decided by one run while Sioux Central is 0-3.
The main difference in the two teams is errors and unearned runs.
Sioux Central has committed 108 errors this season. Of their 226 runs allowed, only 107 were earned.
ELC has only committed 61 errors this season and 84 of the 128 runs allowed were earned.
Swanson and junior Billy Snyder have spent the most time on the mound. Swanson is 6-3 in nine starts. He has pitched 64 innings giving up 63 hits with 58 strikeouts and 24 walks. He has a 2.73 ERA. Snyder is 3-3 in seven starts. In 44 2/3 innings, he has given up 52 hits with 27 strikeouts and 29 walks. He has a 3.29 ERA.
Burrell has the best ERA at 1.02. He has often been used as a closer. He is 2-3 on the season. In 27 1/3 innings he has given up seven hits with 40 strikeouts and 13 walks.
The winner of Saturday's game will face North Union at 5 p.m. in Spirit Lake on Tuesday, July 16. The Warriors (24-8 overall) receive a first-round bye. North Union has won 12 of their final 13 games of the regular season.
Spirit Lake (13-10 overall) has dropped four of its last five games to end the regular season. However, the Indians have a first-round bye and will play the winner of Saturday's game between Emmetsburg and Okoboji at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, July 16 in Spirit Lake. The district final will take place at 7 p.m., Saturday, July 20 in Spirit Lake.
In Class 1A, Graettinger-Terril/Ruthven-Ayrshire begins its tournament run next Tuesday against Alta-Aurelia in Alta. The Titans finished the season with an 11-7 record while the Cyclones are 19-13.