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Strike Zone Baseball won the host team honors for the 2014 Connie Mack World Series after advancing out of the City Tournament for its fifth straight CMWS appearance.

Strike Zone compiled a 25-15 record during the summer, playing more games and travelling to more tournaments than in previous years, building experience head coach Adam Morrissey believes will be beneficial to his team entering the series.

"That really helps you out as a player and gives you more confidence going into the series," he said.

One potential hang-up for the Cardinals is the long layoff the team will have to deal with entering Friday's nightcap against the Midland Redskins. Morrissey and the Strike Zone coaching staff have had to balance keeping the Cardinals motivated without burning them out.

"It's tough," Morrissey said of the 19-day break since Strike Zone secured the host bid. "After the city tournament, you need to let them take a break for a while. You don't want to burn them out on baseball."

But, he added, the players also have to be ready for Friday's game.

"You don't want to be too hard on them too early," Morrissey said. "You want them to be at their best Friday night for that game. You don't want them to be at their best a week ago. It's a little tricky because three weeks is a long time for baseball players."

While the team works to keep its on-the-field skills sharp, Morrissey isn't concerned about his players' mindset entering Friday. He said his players understand what it means to play in the CMWS and don't need extra motivation.

"I don't have to say anything. Everyone who's on the field knows," Morrissey said. "The last thing you want is to be that guy drilling it in how important it is and all that."

He said he also wants the team to "enjoy these moments" during the series.

"All of these kids are going to go off to college soon," Morrissey said. "Their lives are going to be moving on, and it's their last time with their buddies, you know. Just experience the whole week with your families, enjoy it and take it in. Go out and play and let it be. They're gonna be prepared. When Friday night hits, we'll be prepared to go."

Karl Schneider can be reached at 505-564-4648 Follow him @karltschneider on Twitter.