Former Rusk Eagle Tyler Wilbanks has West Rusk playing in regional quarterfinal

May 15—NEW LONDON — After a fourth-place regular-season finish in District 16-3A, not many people expected the West Rusk Raider baseball team to still be playing in Week 3 of the state playoffs.

The Raiders (18-12-1), who are coached by Tyler Wilbanks, a graduate of Rusk High School and a former Eagle baseball standout, will be facing a very familiar foe in Tatum (20-9), the District 16-3A champions, when a Class 3A, Region II quarterfinal series opens up at 7:00 p.m. this evening at The Brook Hill School in Bullard — Game 1 of the series has been moved up a day due to an unfavorable weather forecast for Thursday.

West Rusk opened post season play by sweeping New Diana, the District 15-3A champion, 3-0, 5-3.

Late last week the boys from New London won two of three games (6-3, 3-4, 5-2) to end DeKalb's playoff run in area play.

DeKalb, the District 14 second-place team, entered the series as the favorite.

West Rusk will once again be the underdog this week as Tatum knocked off the Raiders 7-1 and 8-5 in the regular season.

That's a position that Wilbanks, who is in his third season as the head coach at West Rusk, and his young men have thrived in this post season.