Barely above .500 at 10-9, the Hawks, coached by Cory Johnson, will find tough competition from the likes of No. 2 Crystal City, No. 3 Scott City, No. 4 Valley Catholic, No. 5 St. Vincent, No. 6 Charleston, No. 7 Grandview and No. 8 Woodland.
St. Vincent may have a special motivation. The Indians have already claimed a state football title and a state runner-up in basketball this year.
Charleston (5-17) has struggled to a 7-15 record and a nice showing in the district tourney would certainly add a bright light to an otherwise frustrating season.
"We're going to have to play defense (to compete)," said Bluejays coach Chris Stanfield. "That's been our Achilles' heel all year. We have to stay away from the big inning. In most of our losses, we've had one big inning where an opponent scored most of their runs. Offensively, we can do enough to stay in ballgames and give ourselves a chance to win."
First-round schedule (Monday): Kelly vs. Woodland, 10 a.m.; Crystal City vs. Grandview, noon; Valle vs. St. Vincent, 2 p.m.; Scott City vs. Charleston, 4 p.m. Semifinals: Tuesday, 2 p.m. and 4 p.m.
Final: Thursday, 4 p.m.
MALDEN -- Coming off a fine regular season, East Prairie (16-2) enters the Class 2, District 1 tournament as the No. 2 seed, unfamiliar territory to the Eagles.
"We've had a rough road come district time," said East Prairie coach Jason Aycock. "We haven't even made a run for it."
This year's Eagles could be birds of another feather.
Said Aycock, "Our pitching staff is peaking at the right time and so is our bats. Since I've been at East Prairie, it seems like we've never peaked at the right time, but this year we're playing good baseball right now."
That pitching corps, led by senior Ben Walters at 7-1, sports a tidy combined ERA of 1.93.
But, this district, also featuring No. 1 South Pemiscot, No. 3 Portageville, No. 4 Hayti, No. 5 Caruthersville, No. 6 Campbell, No. 7 Senath-Hornersville and No. 8 Malden, is usually up for grabs. Nos. 4 and 5 seeds have come out of the tournament the past couple of years.
"There's not a bit of difference between No. 1 through No. 7 down there," said Aycock. "In fact, all the coaches were saying (at the seed meeting) that we could just put the teams in a hat and pull 'em out."
The tournament will be held at Malden and opens on Monday.
First-round schedule (Monday): South Pemiscot vs. Malden, East Prairie vs. Senath-Hornersville, Portageville vs. Campbell and Hayti vs. Caruthersville.