Coming into the final week of the regular season, Coppell head baseball coach Ryan Howard wanted his Cowboys to focus more on playing well than paying attention to the District 6-6A standings.
And play well, Coppell did.
Coppell senior Will Rodman worked around seven hits and struck out four in seven innings of scoreless ball to lead the Cowboys (24-7-1 overall, 11-3 district) to a 4-0 victory over Flower Mound on Friday.
Coppell won game one, 11-7.
The Cowboys won eight straight district games to conclude the regular season.
“I’m really proud of the maturity that we have as a whole, as a group,” Howard said. “We have an experienced group, a mature group. They do a really good job of taking things day by day. I’m proud of the way they competed. I liked their focus. They were not looking forward.”
Coppell finishes in second place in District 6-6A.
Coming into last week, there was a scenario where the Cowboys could win the district title. They trailed Marcus by one game with two contests remaining, but the Marauders took care of business with a two-game sweep of Plano East to clinch first place.
Nonetheless, it’s a Coppell team that will enter the postseason on a roll.
All of the run support that Rodman needed came in the top of the fourth inning.
Three straight hits by senior David Jeon, junior Walker Polk and Rodman led to three runs for Coppell. Jeon scored on Rodman’s single. A dropped third strike by Flower Mound allowed the second run to cross home plate for the Cowboys. Junior Bradley Castillo followed with an RBI single for a 3-0 Coppell lead.
It remained a three-run game until the seventh. Coppell junior Walker Polk hit an RBI single of his own to increase the Cowboy advantage to 4-0.
Polk and Castillo each tallied two hits in the victory.
Tuesday’s win for Coppell was atypical of most of the team’s games this season. On most nights, the Cowboys have relied on stellar pitching and a few timely hits to win a low-scoring game. But Coppell proved against the Jaguars that it can win games in a variety of ways.
The start to the game was wild, to say the least.
Coppell and Flower Mound combined for 14 runs through the first two innings. The Jaguars matched the Cowboys’ five-run output in the home half of the first with a five-spot of their own in the top of the second to claim a 6-5 lead.
The two teams combined for 21 hits and each squad committed three errors.
Despite a shaky start for Coppell senior pitcher Chayton Krauss, the tall right-hander settled in and tossed three straight scoreless innings before handing over the pitching duties to senior reliever Tim Malone. Malone yielded just one run (zero earned) on three hits with a pair of strikeouts in two innings of work.
Krauss even aided his own cause. He hit the go-ahead, two-run home run in the bottom of the third to put Coppell ahead, 7-6 – an advantage that the Cowboys wouldn’t relinquish. Tony Vernars, also a senior, capped off a three-run frame for Coppell with an RBI single.
Vernars went a perfect 3-for-3 at the plate to power the Cowboys.
“Being able to win games in multi-faceted ways is key,” Howard said. “I think there will be some games where we can come out and put barrels on balls and throw up crooked numbers on the scoreboard.
“We preach about being multi-dimensional to win games. We found ways to be like that on both games. Tuesday was more of an offensive night. They had a great offensive approach against Chayton, but were able to withstand their rally. Coming out of here this afternoon, I knew that we were facing a really good arm. He had some really good velocity. We did a good job of laying off breaking balls in tough counts and hit fastballs to get a couple of runs.”