COPPELL – The pitching of senior Will Boylan was a big reason why the Coppell baseball team earned a 3-2 victory agaisnt McKinney Boyd in Friday’s Game 1 of a Class 6A bi-district playoff series.
Boylan pitched three scoreless innings in a relief role with eight strikeouts against just one hit.
Fast-forward to the top of the seventh inning of Saturday’s Game 2, and Boylan found himself in another pressure situation.
With two on and two out, Boyd’s most dangerous hitter, senior Ethan Wesloski, stepped into the batter’s box. Wesloski had already hit two home runs during the best-of-three series. But Boylan struck out Wesloski on three pitches, and Coppell hung for a 3-2 win to polish off the two-game sweep of the Broncos at CISD Softball and Baseball Complex.
“I’ve put Will Boylan through some of the worst situations that a pitcher can endure the last two years, and he just keeps finding ways to succeed,” said Ryan Howard, Coppell head coach. “He relishes in it. He loves the adversity. He’s a tough kid and a lot of fun to watch.”
As it has been the case all season, Coppell’s pitching staff set the tone. Wesloski hit a two-run home run in the first inning of Game 1. But, the Cowboys proceeded to put the clamps on the Broncos’ offense, holding Boyd to just two runs over the final 14 innings of the series.
Junior Texas Tech pledge TJ Pompey pitched the first five innings of Game 2, allowing two runs against three strikeouts. Boylan recorded two scoreless innings in relief of Pompey, striking out four, including a swinging strikeout of Wesloski to end the game.
“It’s all a mentality,” Boylan said. “If someone gets on, you can’t overthink it, can’t let it get into your head. You’ve just to stay at it and try to get some weak contact.”
Boylan aided his own cause with an RBI sacrifice fly in the bottom of the second to give Coppell a 1-0 lead.
Boyd finally broke through in the top of the fourth. Wesloski crushed a solo home run over the left-field wall to lead off the frame and tie the score at 1-1.
“He’s got tremendous power,” said Brooke Court, Boyd head coach. “He’s just a strong kid, and leadership-wise, he’s a great kid. He’s an ultra competitor. He not only wants to do well for himself, but also for the team.”
Coppell mounted a two-out rally in the bottom of the fourth to retake the lead. Senior Carter Fields hit an RBI single for a 2-1 Cowboy lead. Junior Andrew Schultz, who lined a triple, scored on Fields’ hit.
Boyd mounted a two-out rally of its own in the top of the fifth. Senior Jaxon Cota hit an RBI single on a 2-2 count to tie the score at 2-2.
“I never doubted that they would respond,” Court said. “(Friday) night, we kind of beat ourselves. We just couldn’t get bunts down and stuff like that. But I knew that they would respond for the program and for me.”
But Coppell had the final say. Senior Baylor signee Walker Polk clubbed a solo home run over the left-field wall with one out in the bottom of the fifth to give the Cowboys a 3-2 lead.
“He’s really come on the last few weeks,” Howard said. “He’s coming up with some big hits for us. He’s swinging the bat with a lot of confidence. He just missed on a couple of balls that were hit earlier in the game. He was fortunate enough to get a ball up in the zone and put a barrel on it.”
Coppell advances to play Dallas Jesuit the area round. Game 1 is slated for 7:30 p.m. Thursday at Coppell. Game 2 is 7:30 p.m. Friday at Jesuit. If necessary, Game 3 will be played at Kelly Field in Carrollton at either noon or 4 p.m. on Saturday.
It's a rematch of an area-round match-up from last season, which Coppell won in two games.