PLANO – The Frisco Reedy baseball team used back-to-back three-run innings off Lake Dallas senior ace Mason Meeks to earn a 6-4, come-from-behind victory in the teams’ bi-district playoff series opener at Plano East Thursday.
“We’ve been down quite a few times this year in district play, and our kids just compete. I’m so proud of them,” said Chris Cox, Reedy head coach. “We’ve got some guys that can hit the ball deep in the gap and can get something going late in the game, and we’ve got some speed we can use on the basepaths. I feel like they didn’t doubt that we could come back.”
The defeat was just the fifth in the last 23 outings for the Falcons, who went on a blistering run after beginning the season with seven straight losses. The confidence built through that turnaround, head coach Ryan Howard said, has Lake Dallas believing the series is far from over.
“We know how to face adversity. We’ve had our backs up against the wall before,” he said. “This is why we play a three-game series.”
The game looked to be in hand for Lake Dallas early, with the Falcons jumping out to a 4-0 lead over the Lions through three frames. After loading the bases with no outs in the second, they manufactured three runs on three Reedy errors.
Lake Dallas then pushed another across in the fourth when Reedy junior catcher Harrison Longoria lost control of the ball attempting a tag on Falcon sophomore Ben Price, who was coming home after tagging up on a fly ball from junior Ryan Depperschmidt.
However, the game took a turn in favor of the Lions in the bottom of the frame. After facing just 11 batters through three, Meeks opened the fourth with a walk to Reedy senior Hunter Riley.
A throwing error on a pickoff attempt moved him to second before doubles from junior Josh Foskey and sophomore Dalton Beck plated two. Beck eventually came around to score on a two-out balk, cutting the Lake Dallas lead to 4-3.
Reedy would add three more in the fifth to take its first and final lead of the night. The Lions touched Meeks up for three hits to go along with a few Lake Dallas defensive miscues – the Lions plated the go-ahead run on a passed ball, then an insurance marker on a throwing error on the same play – to put the contest at the 6-4 final.
Meeks, who didn’t allow an earned run in nine appearances in 14-5A play, was uncharacteristically average on the night, surrendering eight hits and all six Reedy runs over six innings of work.
Despite lacking his best stuff, Howard said Meeks competed well for the Falcons in the two-run setback.
“That’s what makes Mason Meeks great, to me,” he said. “He’ll go out and compete and win a lot of ballgames for you when he doesn’t have his best stuff. That’s a good ball club. They took advantage of a couple of mistakes we made, and it ended up being the difference.”
Opposite Meeks was Reedy right-hander Allen Smith, who picked up the victory. The senior worked six innings for the Lions, striking out nine before giving way to Foskey, who closed the door on the Falcons.
“He’s an all-district pitcher. He’s been ‘Mr. Consistency’ for us the last two years,” Cox said. “He’s one of the top pitchers in our district, and our district is very competitive.”
The two teams will square off at Plano East again Friday with Lake Dallas’s season on the line. First pitch is set for 7:30 p.m.
While the Falcons fight for their postseason lives, Cox said the Lions don’t plan on letting them force a decisive third game.
“We can’t let up,” he said. “A lot of coaches would have the philosophy of, ‘Let’s throw our No. 3 that second game,’ and that’s not my philosophy. We’re going to throw the best we’ve got and act like it’s 0-0 again that second game.”
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