With a Mother Lode League co-championship notched into their belts, the Bret Harte High School Bullfrogs want to add a Sac-Joaquin Section baseball title.
"They're excited," Bret Harte coach Heath Lane said. "They feel like it's the first day of the season."
Bret Harte (15-9) begins its Division IV bid tomorrow at 3 p.m. at Zupo Field in Lodi against Golden Empire League champion Lindhurst of Olivehurst (13-3).
The winner goes into a best-of-3 semifinal series Monday and Thursday of next week against either MLL tri-champion Linden (15-7) or Trans-Valley League runner-up Escalon (18-7).
In the other half of the eight-team bracket, GEL No. 3 Golden Sierra of Garden Valley (10-13) plays TVL champion Patterson (17-6) and GEL runner-up Marysville (15-11) takes on the other MLL tri-champion, Calaveras (14-10).
The winners will play a best-of-3 Monday and Wednesday for a berth in the championship game, which is Monday, May 26, at 1 p.m. at Zupo.
All four first-round games will be played Saturday at the old minor-league park Golden Sierra-Patterson at 9 a.m., Marysville-Calaveras at noon and Linden-Escalon at 6 in addition to Bret Harte-Lindhurst.
Bret Harte is the MLL's No. 3 seed based on head-to-head results against Calaveras (No. 1) and Linden (No. 2). That's okay, according to Lane.
"As the No. 3 team, we're not on the same side of the bracket as Patterson, which probably is the team to beat," Lane said.
"And the best-of-3 is Monday and Thursday rather than Monday and Wednesday, which gives us an extra day of rest."
The Bullfrogs must get there first, of course, and they must win Saturday to do it because first-round losers are eliminated.
Lindhurst is led by Perry Jackson, who sports a .480 batting average, and by Ryan Robinson, who's hitting .346 and also boasts a 1.40 earned-run average as the ace of the Blazers' pitching staff.