McKINNEY – From the first inning on, the McKinney Boyd baseball team was in the mood for making some history Friday night.
For the first time ever, the Broncos are headed to the regional semifinals, buoyed by two days of timely hitting, airtight pitching and lockdown defense – all culminating in Friday’s 4-2 victory over Allen to win the best-of-3 regional quarterfinals at McKinney North to secure the program’s first four-round postseason foray.
“This group is very special. They’re very tight chemistry-wise and are all about staying in the moment and taking it all one pitch at a time,” said Brooke Court, Boyd head coach. “They’re very coachable kids and they just battle – they make the routine plays and do a great job.”
Twenty-four hours removed from edging the Eagles for a 2-1 win to even the best-of-3 matchup, the Broncos wasted no time pouncing in Friday’s do-or-die series finale. With two outs in the bottom of the first inning, Beau Brewer and Chase Peterson drew walks to set the table for Simon Reid, who belted a two-run single into right field to spot Boyd a quick 2-0 advantage.
“That was huge. We preach it all year long that we want to strike first,” Court said. “If you’re just playing percentages, if you score first then your chances of winning go way up.”
Not only did the Broncos’ patience at the plate and timely offense pay off early, it forced the Eagles into their bullpen before they could so much as record the inning's third out, with Sean McVittie stumbling after inducing a quick two outs to begin the stanza.
In total, the Eagles deployed four pitchers – McVittie, Nick Brackney, Jake Flowers and Jake Good – who combined to surrender four runs on five hits but walked four batters and struck out just three total.
“Heading into the night, we knew we were going to throw four pitchers,” said Paul Coe, Allen head coach. “That was the plan and we were hoping to get one or two innings out of Sean and then go to the next guy. He got those two quick outs but just couldn’t get that last one.”
It was similar to the fate the Eagles heaped on Waco Midway in opening up a first-inning lead in Game 3 of their area playoff series and never letting up – only this time the Broncos had the advantage they would ultimately not relinquish.
Reid proved as much in the third inning, striking again with his third RBI of the contest in belting another run-scoring single to right field. With Reid’s 2-of-3, three-RBI performance as the tip of the spear, the Broncos thrived in tight quarters on Friday, manufacturing three of their four runs with two outs in the inning.
“Simon has been huge for us all year,” Court said. “When we go up with the right approach and focus, we’ve got some good hitters. They did a great job of focusing and getting those timely hits.”
Meanwhile, the Eagles matched the Broncos in the hit column, 5-5, but preferred the long ball as their weapon of choice on Friday. Both of Allen’s runs came on solo shots over the left-field wall – one in the fourth inning by Cole Latos, his fourth homer of the postseason, and another by Zack Hargrove in the fifth inning to cut the deficit to 3-2.
“Zack’s got some pop in his bat. He had a good tournament season for us and definitely has the ability to hit one out,” Coe said.
Allen tried to use the base paths to generate some more offense in the fifth inning, but Reid gunned down Luke Shepard’s attempt to steal third for the frame’s final out. In the bottom half of the inning, the Broncos stretched their lead to 4-2, scoring on an RBI groundout by Dawson Goheen to plate Peterson.
The rest was left in the hands of the Boyd pitching staff, and fittingly enough, it was both Peterson and Goheen who authored a second consecutive gem by the Bronco arms. One night removed from a near-complete game thrown by Jack Hagan, Peterson and Goheen combined to hurl seven innings of five-hit, two-run ball, including a spotless final 2.2 thrown by Goheen.
It was a redemptive night for the two pitchers, who took the brunt of the punishment dished out by Allen in a 10-0 victory over the Broncos during the regular season on April 12.
“I think they learned from their mistakes from the first time they faced Allen,” Court said. “They came out tonight and threw strikes and moved the ball around the zone. Outside of those two long balls, they held them in check.”
But like plenty else with the Broncos, things appear to be rounding into form at the right time. This week marked just the second time ever that Boyd had played in the regional quarterfinals, and with nothing but history in front of them the rest of the way, the Broncos look to stay hot in a fourth-round series against The Woodlands, the top-ranked team in Class 6A by TXHighSchoolBaseball.com, at a time and place to be determined.
Allen, meanwhile, made some history of its own in 2019 before ultimately bowing out in the regional quarterfinals for the second time in three years.
“These guys set a school record for wins with 29 and that’s a big accomplishment,” Coe said. “It’s a good group of kids and to go 29-11 and battle the way they did, it’s just awesome. Unfortunately, somebody’s got to lose and it was us.
“We needed to play a little bit better, but we didn’t and they beat us. I don’t look around and feel like we beat ourselves – they beat us.”