SALINA — If Salina's going to be the best, it will have to beat the best.
Fortunately, the 'Cats will get a chance pretty quickly when they travel to No. 1 Verdigris for a Class 3A regional Thursday.
Salina (17-13) will begin its bid to return to the state tournament Thursday at 1 p.m. against Pawhuska (17-7). In the 11 a.m. game, Verdigris (24-6) will take on Tahlequah-Sequoyah (9-10).
The winners of those games will play at 3 p.m. and the losers will play at 5 p.m. in an elimination game.
The tourney will continue Friday with the possibility of one game on Saturday.
Salina, ranked 18th in the final OSSAArankings.com poll, has yet to face Pawhuska or Verdigris this season but defeated Sequoyah 16-5 at home in March.
Salina advanced to the regional by winning a pair of elimination games against Nowata in a district tournament.