DIXIE LEAGUE – With only 2 weeks left in the regular season before the Eastern and Western League Championship Series begin, Week 9 was a pivotal week for several teams trying to inch closer to a playoff spot, and Week 10 will be even more so.
After sweeping the doubleheader format against the San Angelo Wolverines and his older brother, manager of the Orlando Crush by identical scores of 10-8, the Lakeland Raiders have taken control of the top spot in the Eastern League by a half game over the defending Dixie League Champions, the surging Sanford Celeryfeds, who took down the Western League leader Andalusia Arrows in their Game 1, 11-8 and Eastern League foe Westfield Bombers 11-7 in Game 2. Sanford at one point this season, was buried in last place and looked like that was where they were destined to stay, but after several weekend sweeps and other teams falling short they are now fighting for a playoff spot just ahead of the Hinesville Warrior who went 0-1-1 last weekend and are only 1 game back from Lakeland. If Westfield, who was 0-2-0 on the weekend, and Orlando who also was 0-2-0, fall this weekend they could be eliminated from contention if the top teams continue their winning ways. Week 10 could be the weekend where the playoff positions are finalized. Lakeland must contend with the best scoring team in the Dixie League, the Kokomo Kings in Game 1 and in Game 2 they will face the Hinesville Warrior who with a win could move closer to the top spot. Sanford who is on the road against the San Angelo Wolverines followed by a rematch against the Andalusia Arrows could make the move to the top with a sweep in this weekends action.
Four teams are still mathematically in the race for the Western League title after Week 9 play. Andalusia, after going 1-1-0 on the weekend, and with home games this weekend against Eastern League teams Westfield and Sanford was able to maintain a 1 game lead over new franchise Austin. The Bulls who were 2-0-0 in Week 9, will also will have a homestand this weekend against Hinesville and New Orleans, and are 1 1/2 games over the high flying Kokomo Kings who went 0-0-2 in Week 9, with ties against the Hinesville Warrior and the New Orleans Black Hats by scores of 8-8. Week 10 sees them at home against Lakeland and Westfield. San Angelo is still in the mix, 2 1/2 games back after going 0-2-0 last week with losses to the two League leaders Lakeland and Andalusia 10-6 and 8-6. They will take on the rising Sanford Celeryfeds and the Orlando Crush. The New Orleans Black Hats are 3 1/2 games back with games this weekend against the Orlando Crush and Austin Bulls.
The Lakeland Raiders and Andalusia Arrows right now have the best records in the Dixie League, with both teams at 10-6-2, and also happen to be managed by a father and son pair. Could we see a family feud Dixie Championship series this season, or will someone from the pack surge forward and take over the top spots in the respective Leagues. Week 10 should give us a preview of the playoffs with only one week left after play this weekend.