Calendar Craziness: District 10-5A schedule has different look than in recent years
The Plano East baseball team opened District 10-5A play March 12 versus Allen.
Its second district game was also against Allen.
Back-to-back games versus the same opponent is one of many new wrinkles East, Allen, Plano Senior, Plano West, McKinney Boyd and McKinney are experiencing this season.
"I've been at this a long time and I've never done anything like this before," said Rick Robertson, Plano head coach. "It's interesting and I don't know if I like it so far."
The biggest change is the 15-game schedule.
Whereas most six-team districts (including 10-5A softball) would play 10 games, the baseball district has 15 slated with each team facing off three times.
"It's definitely a unique way to do it, but I like it," said Kevin Clark, West head coach. "If you only played 10 games you would have to add a whole lot of non-district games and by playing 15 games, I think it really shows who the best team in the district is."
"It came down to either playing three rounds for 15 games or playing two rounds for 10 games," Robertson added. "We all decided on the three rounds and then came together as a group on how we were going to do it."
That decision meant back-to-back games versus each opponent, with that cycle of five pairs accounting for the first 10 games of the schedule before shifting to one-offs for the remaining five.
"You can look at it as being odd or you can look at it as allowing you to play good teams every day," said Brooke Court, Boyd head coach. "It's one of those situations where if you do falter in the beginning, you still have time to make it up in the end. It's something that we expect and like because we're playing good teams throughout."
The expanded schedule could be good news for Boyd, which lost its pair to West (March 12 and 15) to start district. That was the trend with the new schedule as Plano swept McKinney and Allen took two off East.
Consecutive games versus the same opponent also mean seeing a variety of pitchers.
"It's good because you don't always have to face the other team's No. 1," Clark said. "I remember it seemed like we always had to go up against Jake Feckley every time we played Wylie and that was not fun."
Clark isn't the only one that mentioned that scenario.
"It'll be interesting that one team can't load up with an ace and throw him at you three times," Robertson said. "It's kind of like a playoff series where you play one and go right back to play them again on Friday."
The playoff element will especially come into play April 5 and 6 when the back-to-back games come on consecutive days with Plano and West, East and Boyd, Allen and McKinney all playing twice in the span of less than 24 hours.
April 6 is the first of three straight Saturdays in which there are 10-5A games, as opposed to previous years when one Saturday district game was the norm.
"Teams are generally afraid of those Saturday games because you have to use a third starter you might normally only see in tournament season," Clark said. "But I like it; it forces teams to develop their pitching staffs."
There is also a Thursday game (March 28) this season, but that is more typical as it is a product of having the next day (Good Friday) off.
Add in an additional non-district game (which each 10-5A team, save for McKinney, has at least one of) and the Panthers, Eagles, Wildcats, Wolves, Broncos and Lions should all be plenty tested come playoff time in May.
"I'm not aware of anyone doing it the way we are," Robertson said. "We're trying it out to see how we like it and we'll go from there."
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