FLOWER MOUND – Two days after Coppell pitcher Tony Vernars escaped a bases-loaded jam to seal a 5-2 win for the Cowboys over Marcus on Tuesday, one swing of the bat by sophomore TJ Pompey gave Coppell the start that it needed to try to earn its first sweep of a District 6-6A opponent this season.
But, for as well as the Cowboys started, Marauders senior pitcher Tyler Schott made a big in-game adjustment. Schott also received some timely plays by his defense, as well as head’s up base-running by Jeff Martz, to help Marcus rally for a 3-2 win in Thursday's rematch.
Marcus head coach Jeff Sherman said that the biggest adjustment that Schott made was adding a change-up to his pitching arsenal.
Schott, a Dallas Baptist pledge, worked around several scoring opportunities by Coppell and allowed no runs over his last 4.1 innings of work, finishing his outing with 11 strikeouts and yielded just one walk.
Hunter Teplanszky, a TCU commit, came on in relief of Schott with one out in the seventh and needed just six pitches to retire the final two Cowboy hitters.
“The first time around he faced that lineup, he got barreled up six times,” Sherman said. “We just never went to the change-up. Once he went to that change-up, that’s when he got into a groove.”
Coppell head coach Ryan Howard complimented the work of his pitching staff. Timothy Malone, Will Boylan and Will Rodman worked around several scoring chances by a potent Marauder lineup and limited Marcus to just three runs and just five hits.
“I’m really proud of the way that we pitched,” Howard said. “That’s a great team that we’re playing. To give up just three and to get out of some situations against some quality hitters, I’m really proud of the way that we performed on the mound.”
Marcus took the lead for good in the fourth inning. Coppell thought that it had gotten a called third strike on a Marauder batter, which would have ended the inning. But, as Cowboy catcher Bradley Castillo threw the ball to first baseman Chayton Krauss, the home-plate umpire called the pitch a ball.
Instead of the inning ending, Coppell was forced to adjust to a live-ball situation. The Cowboys attempted to tag Connor Wyatt in a rundown between first and second bases. But, before Wyatt was tagged out, Martz ran down the third-base line and touched home plate to give Marcus a 3-2 lead.
“We need to a better job of locking in and seeing what they’re going to be doing in a situation where they’ve got a couple of strikes, two outs and runners on first and third,” Howard said. “If they’re having action with that runner on first, they’re trying to get that runner from third in. It was loud and we tried to communicate, but we couldn’t hear it. It was kind of a mess-up on our part.”
The miscue fired up Coppell.
In the next half inning, Pompey led off with an infield single and senior Ryan Walker lined a double down the right-field line. Pompey attempted to score from first base, but two perfect throws by the Marauder defense led to a tag-out of Pompey at home plate.
“If he doesn’t trip on the base path, he scores,” Sherman said.
Pompey went 3-for-4 at the plate to power the Cowboy offense.
These same two state-ranked teams – Marcus is No. 5 in the latest Diamond Pro/THSB 6A Top 25 Poll, while Coppell checks in at No. 17 – played Tuesday at Coppell.
Tied 1-1 after three innings, the Cowboys took the lead for good in the home half of the fourth.
Purdue commit David Jeon and Baylor pledge Walker Polk led off the frame with back-to-back doubles, with Polk’s hit putting Coppell on top, 2-1. Castillo singled in the second Cowboy run of the frame. A defensive error by Marcus allowed Coppell to increase its lead to 4-1.
Coppell took a 5-2 lead into the top of the seventh, but Marcus came close to cutting into that advantage. The Marauders had the bases loaded with one out. But, Vernars refocused on the mound, inducing a pop fly for the second out before striking out the next Marcus batter to seal the victory for the Cowboys.
Krauss pitched the first six innings for Coppell, allowing just two runs with eight strikeouts. Marcus didn’t help its cause as the Marauders stranded 11 base runners.