There isn’t a great deal of rest for weary arms.

With the Zone III regular season ending Thursday, most of the teams are back at it Saturday for the zone playoffs and the right to earn a spot in next week’s state tournament.

With a steady dosage of rained out games late in the season — and some hot weather in the final week — the teams have been playing steadily down the stretch with little time to recover.

“All the kids and coaches have been going at it pretty strong since the middle of March,” Windham assistant coach Aaron Talon said. “There hasn’t really been many breaks. People are tired and worn down. The weather beats you up.”

Windham and Pastime of Lewiston are the lucky ones. Windham (15-3) is the top seed while Pastime (14-4) was second in the final standings. That gives both teams a bye Saturday and an extra day of rest.

“We’re pretty fortunate that we were able to keep up with our games,” Pastime coach Dave Jordan said. “For the most part, Mother Nature was good to us in terms of the field that we play on. There was only a few of us that were able to do that.”

Five other teams will play Saturday with the hopes of advancing to noon semifinal games at Windham and Lewiston on Sunday. The championship will be Monday at 4:30 at the highest remaining seed.

“It’s going to be fun,” said Talon. “There are three teams that are playing well right now (Windham, Pastime and Bessey Motors). We’ve all beat up on each other this year. Auburn (Rogers Post) started off hot but had a rough patch lately. They’re obviously capable of winning some games. I like the Smith-Tobey team too. I think they could knock somebody off.”

Fourth seed Rogers Post (11-7) will host fifth-ranked Smith Tobey (10-8) at 9:30 a.m. at Pettengill Park in a quarterfinal game.

At 10 a.m. at the Field of Dreams Complex in Harrison, Locke Mills will play Highland Green in a play-in game for the sixth and final seed. The winner will play third seeded Bessey Motors (13-5) 45 minutes later.

“Hopefully that third seed will help us out in that regard,” Bessey coach Shane Slicer said. “We have to win a game. We have to play nine innings and hopefully, we’ll get the bats going.”

Bessey finished the regular season with back-to-back losses to Windham and Pastime, totalling just four hits in the two games. Though Thursday’s game with Pastime was for the second seed, Slicer rested some of his top pitchers for the weekend.

“It was hit or miss with the pitching staff anyway,” Slicer said. “It’s awful tough to make decisions with having only one day of rest before the tournament. Do you go for second place? We have some tired arms, and we rested some arms (Thursday). That was our choice to do.”

Both Locke Mills (7-11) and Highland Green (7-11) won crucial games down the stretch and take some momentum into their showdown in the morning. Their playoff game will be seven innings, but the quarterfinal with Bessey that follows will play nine, like all tourney games.

“It’s still a grind,” Jordan said. “It’s a very competitive zone. Anybody can beat anybody on a given day and with a good pitcher and field behind him. We’ve seen that with teams that we’ve played and with other matches. It should make for an interesting playoff run for everybody.”

The top two teams advance to the state tourney the following week. Play begins Saturday, July 27, with play-in games for the zone runners-up. The state’s five zone winners will begin Wednesday, July 31.

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