The De Smet Spartans head into Class 5 sectional baseball action after winning their second consecutive district championship.
The Spartans won District 6 with an impressive 11-0 victory over Parkway North.
That win sends the Spartans (10-13-1) into sectional play at 4 p.m. Tuesday against McCluer North (11-14).
It doesn’t matter to De Smet coach Dave Stewart or his team where the game is scheduled to be played. While McCluer North might have a small advantage playing at home, it’s not a big deal for the Spartans.
“There might be but it’s a game played on a field, no matter where it is,” Stewart said.
This will be the first time the two teams have played each other.
The sectional winner will play the survivor of the game between Francis Howell and Rock Bridge on Thursday. To get that opportunity, Stewart said his team’s mission is simple.
“Play our game and focus on our process, things we can control,” Stewart said.
The regular season showed growth by his team, Stewart said.
“We had our ups and downs but we got better every day,” Stewart said. “With a young team, that is most important.”
When postseason rolled around, his team was set and well prepared to get going.
“They have been preparing all year for a run both with difficulty of our schedule and the way we practice,” Stewart said. “They are excited and ready.”
De Smet was the No. 2 seed in District 6. That was fine by Stewart. Parkway North was the top seed.
“It was a fair seeds,” Stewart said. “Like I said we play possibly the toughest schedule in the state so the overall wins may never add up but our boys will be prepared. Parkway North was a great team with a great record and deserved the 1 (seed).”
De Smet won its district opener by scoring a 3-0 win over Francis Howell North.
“We knew it would be hard fought,” Stewart said. “Bobby’s (Dunahue) teams are always tough and well coached. Josh Abel on the mound really paced the way.”
The key to De Smet’s victory was getting “timely hits with runners on,” Stewart said.
That set up the district championship game against top-seeded Parkway North. The Vikings entered with a 19-9 record.
“We preached the importance of playing our game,” Stewart said. “We knew we had to take the fight to them because they are very aggressive and fast.”
A big five-run second inning gave De Smet and advantage. Junior catcher Tim Chiapel got the big hit in the inning with a bases-loaded cleaning triple.
The Spartans never looked back en route to the 11-0 victory.
The final margin was a little surprise, Stewart acknowledged.
“It did a bit but when we get rolling with the bats anything can really happen,” Stewart said. “We have some good arms that will keep us in games so if the bats come alive, watch out.”
The district crown was the second in as many years for the Spartans. Stewart said his squad enjoyed the moment.
“They were excited,” Stewart said. “District championships are hard to come by and the boys were excited and appreciative. (We are) very proud of our back to back. It’s not easy to win so being able to do it back to back is special.”