It has been years since East Oktibbeha's softball program has played in a playoff series.
That all changes today when the Region 5 runner-up Lady Titans begin Mississippi High School Activities Association Class A postseason action at 1 p.m. against Noxapater.
"We've just really been focusing on our fielding and making sure we glove the ball good and stay in front of it," said East Oktibbeha head coach Pam Roberts. "Our bats are already going pretty good and they have been all year. We've got a bunch of girls that are carrying big sticks."
As basic as it sounds, Roberts said for her team to get past the Region 6 champion Lady Tigers, the gloves and bats must continue doing the jobs that have been done all season.
"The key is that we continue to hit the ball hard and play defense," said Roberts.
The Lady Titans could play as many as three games today. With a best-of-three format for this first round series, East Oktibbeha and Noxapater will immediately follow the opening contest with game two. Game three would follow that, if necessary.
Roberts hopes her Lady Titans can pick up a win in the first game and build early momentum.
"If we could get that first game, it would increase our team's confidence," said Roberts. "It could possibly even motivate them to go ahead and take that second game as well."
According to Roberts, East Oktibbeha isn't at all familiar with Noxapater. The two teams haven't met this season, adding to the intrigue as the Lady Titans forge ahead into the unfamiliar waters of the playoffs.
Despite her team's inexperience, Roberts says East Oktibbeha feels no pressure and is anxious to hit the field.
"All the girls are just excited about getting down there," said Roberts. "They are ready to play."
O'Bannon at East Webster
In MHSAA Class 2A playoff action, East Webster hosts O'Bannon today beginning at 3 p.m.
Coach Dallas Ferguson's Lady Wolverines edged out Webster County rival Eupora for the Region 4 crown, earning the right to host this first round matchup.
O'Bannon enters as the Region 3 runner-up.
Eupora at Strayhorn
Eupora opens its MHSAA Class 2A postseason slate by traveling to Sarah for a battle against Strayhorn.
The Lady Eagles, the Region 4 runner-up, will rely heavily on junior shortstop and leadoff hitter Katelyn Rodgers as they look to upset the Lady Mustangs.
"We really need her to kind of set the tone for us," said Eupora head coach Trae Embry.
Besides Rodgers, Embry says the entire top-third of his batting order has paced his offense all season long and must continue to produce today to provide Eupora its best chance against the Region 3 winners.
The entire best-of-three series will be played today, with the action beginning at 3 p.m.
"It doesn't matter if you're 31-0 going into the playoffs, once they start, you are 0-0," said Embry. "It's a new season for everybody."