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LUFKIN, Texas — Texas High begins its playoff trek by renewing an old rivalry today.

The Tigers begin a Class 5A best-of-3 bi-district series against Lufkin with Game 1 on the Panthers' home field. First pitch is set for 6 p.m.

Game 2 will be at Tiger Field at 6 p.m. Friday, and if a third game is needed, it will be played Saturday at Benton, La. with a 4 p.m. start.

"We've been battle-tested with the district and schedule we've played," Texas High coach John McClure said. "The top two teams in our district — Longview and Hallsville — were tough competition and have prepared us for the postseason. That really helped us a lot to play them."

The Tigers (15-7-1) finished as the third seed from District 15-5A, and Lufkin (24-6-1) is the second seed from 16-5A.

"Lufkin has some solid arms and plays fundamental baseball," McClure said. "They're well-coached. This is going to be a fun series and an exciting series. One of our strengths is our pitching depth. We've got a couple of real good starters, but we've also got six or seven guys who can step in and perform at a high level and give us quality innings, when we need them."

Luke Smith will start on the mound for Texas High, and Jackson Halter will be behind the plate. Nate Mennie will be at first, Trey Lavender at second, Rian Cellers at shortstop and Sawyer Pritchard at third.

Ben DePriest will start in left, Zane Dodson in center, and Caden Miller in right. Nathan Steele will be the designated hitter for Pritchard in Game 1.

THS has won three in a row entering the postseason, and the Panthers have won five straight. The winners advance to the area round next week against either North Forney or Ennis.

The series will be broadcast on 107.9 FM.

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