DALLAS – The Flower Mound baseball team had the Class 6A defending state champions against the ropes Friday night in Game 2 of the regional final, but let them off the hook.
Thanks to four unearned runs in the fourth that tied things up and another four-run frame in the fifth inning, Southlake escaped with an 8-5 victory and the series sweep to advance to the state tournament for the sixth time in program history.
The triumph marked the 20th straight postseason win for the Dragons and was the 16th consecutive victory overall in 2019.
“Hats off to them,” said Danny Wallace, Flower Mound head coach. “They’re just a really good team over there.”
The Jaguars’ season may have ended earlier than they had hoped, but a trip to the fifth round after missing the playoffs last year for the first time since 2001 is certainly quite the achievement.
In fact, Flower Mound finished the district slate in 2018 in seventh place, and Wallace praised his squad following the season-ending loss to Southlake.
“I told them that I love them to death and that they have had an amazing year,” he said. “Things fell apart last year, and that’s not Flower Mound baseball. These guys put us back where we belong. They are talented and played hard and for each other.”
Following an 8-5 defeat in Game 1 on Thursday, the Jaguars marched out to a monster second inning in Game 2 following various miscues by the Dragons’ defense.
Flower Mound loaded up the bases with just one out after junior designated hitter Geoffrey Marlow was hit by a pitch, junior outfielder Jake Fuerst reached on an error and nine-hole hitter Cole Harrison slapped a single to left.
Then, on a routine fly ball to left field by junior shortstop Will Miller, Wallace’s crew plated the first two runs of the game when the ball popped in and out of Brandon Howell’s glove.
Following a Cam Brown walk, the error bug struck Southlake again when first baseman Grant Golomb misread the throw from short on a ground ball, which scored two more Jaguars to make it 4-0.
After Flower Mound senior starting pitcher Austin Wallace breezed through the first two innings unscathed, it appeared as if the four-run advantage would be all the Jaguars needed to force a decisive Game 3.
But that wasn’t the case, as the roles reversed in the top of third when two errors and a wild pitch ultimately led to Southlake knotting things up at four.
Wallace went on to last just one more inning before things went south for the righty in the fifth, when four of the first five Dragons reached base safely after a leadoff single by Austin Hale.
Golemb then made up for his error by recording the first RBI of the game on a slow-rolling infield single before Riley Garcia blew things wide open moments later with a two-run triple into the gap in left.
“We had our guy on the mound, and he just didn’t have it tonight,” Wallace said. “Normally, if you give him a 4-0 lead, the game is over. We made a couple errors behind him, and that decided the ballgame.”
Flower Mound regained the lead momentarily at 5-4 in the top half of the fifth on a solo blast from Brown for his second home run of the series.
“[Brown] is great,” Wallace said. “Everybody saw that he was unbelievable in this series.”
But that proved to be the only offense the Jaguars mustered the rest of the way, as the defending champs were just too much down the stretch.
“It just wasn’t meant to be, and we just didn’t catch any breaks there,” Wallace said. “But we have a whole lot of kids coming back next year. ... We’ll be back.”