Twice in the regular season, Gray-New Gloucester’s softball team defeated Falmouth: 4-0 early in the year, 8-1 in the season finale.

The two will meet in the preliminary round of the Western Class B tournament today at 4 p.m.

Yet, Falmouth Coach John Keyes figures he’s in better shape than some of his counterparts, such as Cape Elizabeth’s Joe Henrikson and Lake Region’s J.R. Warren.

That’s because they’ll be facing teams they haven’t played this year. Cape Elizabeth hosts Oak Hill and Lake Region plays at Mountain Valley in Rumford.

“I would rather play someone you know, rather than someone you don’t know,” said Keyes, whose team won six of its last eight games to finish 8-8 and in the final playoff spot, No. 12. “You know what their strengths are, they know what your strengths are. I think you have a better opportunity playing someone you know.

“I just don’t like playing those teams that we don’t see all year.”

Neither does Henrikson, but that’s what his seventh-seeded 13-3 Capers will do, taking on No. 10 Oak Hill.

“I’d like to know what I’m dealing with,” he said. “I don’t know anything about Oak Hill. I know their record is 9-7, and that’s the size of it.”

Henrikson planned on talking to his fellow Western Maine Conference coaches Monday night to see if any of them scrimmaged Oak Hill in the preseason. Other than that, he’ll look into his 2011 scorebook for the stats of last year’s quarterfinal game between the two, won by host Oak Hill 8-4 in a game played at Wales.

“I’ll check the kids who weren’t seniors and see what their tendencies were,” said Henrikson. “I’ll do what I can, but sometimes it’s very limited.”

In the end, both Keyes and Henrikson realize that no matter who you play, or how familiar you are with your opponent, it’s going to come down to how the teams play that day.

“You’ve still got to throw strikes, catch the ball and hit the ball,” said Henrikson. “You’ve still got to do the same things you do against everyone else.

“Honestly, at playoff time, whoever comes in and executes and gets it done, that team will win. Anybody can beat anybody.”

Keyes hopes that his young players “take the good parts from those two losses and go from there.”

The Western Class A preliminary round features three games, all regular-season rematches.

Bonny Eagle plays at Biddeford (the Scots took a 9-5 win in the regular season finale); Gorham is at Sanford (the visiting Rams won 3-1 in early May); Westbrook is at Massabesic (the Blazes took a 12-0 win over the host Mustangs).

“We think this is a perfect chance for us,” said Ray Magnant, the first-year coach of Massabesic. “The kids are more excited going into this game knowing that Westbrook put a beating on us. We really have something to prove.”

Seventh-seeded Massabesic (9-7) looms as a dangerous team. The Mustangs won their final three games after losing six of seven.

“We had a tough run,” said Magnant. “The injury bug hit us good, but this is the healthiest we’ve been all season and it’s starting to show.”

Staff Writer Mike Lowe can be contacted at 791-6422 or at: [email protected]

Twitter: MikeLowePPH