Right now, it's the most simple of playoff scenarios: win and you're in.
That's all West End has to do tonight to ensure itself the sixth spot in the 13-15-year-old Babe Ruth Pennsylvania state tournament when it faces Pine Forge (0-3) at Logue Field at 7 p.m.
The West End all-stars have been in similar postseason situations before, specifically two years ago when the majority of the team was 13 years old. Back then, West End needed to not only won its final game, but needed some help with another team winning. Both worked out and propelled West End to a state championship.
This scenario doesn't involve any other teams needing to win, but that past experience is something West End will be able to use to its advantage.
"They've gotten enough experience (in past). We've played in districts for three years, we've played in state playoffs, this is our third year (in that). We've been to regional one year two years ago," West End manager Scott Niklaus said. "They've been here, they know what it takes. They're smart kids, they're athletes, they're intelligent. They know what it takes. I think they're hungry enough and they're ready to especially win."
West End lost its opener to Altoona (3-1) on Thursday, 10-8, and Bensalem (2-1) on Sunday, 5-2. West End's only win came on Saturday when it defeated Mifflin County (3-1), handing them they're only loss.
"The first loss to Altoona we were just flat. We went down big early and came back from 10-3 to make it 10-8," Niklaus said. "The last game we lost against Bensalem, we faced a really good pitcher in Tim Brennan and we kind of let him dictate what pitches he was throwing to us and after a few innings, I think we got a little more aggressive. We were looking for pitches earlier in the count. So we were hitting pitches we wanted to hit and not his pitches."
Pine Forge has yet to win in the pool play tournament and West End will hope that its pitching staff can keep Pine Forge's offense at bay. West End will most likely start David Sanders, Bradley Walter or Ian Dinsmore, but any one from that trio can pitch solid.
"Any of those guys can give you an A-plus effort at any time," Niklaus said. "Not really sure who we're going to start yet, but I'm really confident with whoever we put in."