Rowlett and Sachse have been playoff fixtures in recent years.
The Eagles have not missed the postseason this century, having appeared every year since 2000, winning nine district championships along the way.
The Mustangs broke through in 2007 and have qualified for the playoffs in 12 of their last 14 chances, not counting a year ago when the postseason was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
After being denied that opportunity last season, the two teams made the most of their return to the field, battling it out in the playoff race before fittingly finishing tied for second place behind Wylie.
Rowlett and Sachse were each recognized for their efforts with several selections to the 9-6A all-district team.
The Mustangs garnered 11 selections, including three superlative awards, while the Eagles received seven spots, with one major honor.
After securing its berth, Sachse made a little history, sweeping Tyler Legacy and outlasting Belton in three games to advance to the regional quarterfinal round for the first time in program history.
There, the Mustangs ran into a Rockwall-Heath team that would go on to capture the Class 6A championship. Though they won the ultimate prize, the Hawks were nearly derailed by Sachse, who took the opener in a 4-2 win before Rockwall-Heath was able to counter with back-to-back victories to halt the Mustangs’ deepest run.
Junior Alex Rangel was voted as the offensive player of the year. Rangel posted a .533 batting average, including a .622 on-base percentage, with four doubles, a pair of triples, seven runs batted in and eight runs scored during the district slate.
Junior shortstop Jesse Ponce was tabbed the defensive player of the year. In addition to his work in the infield, Ponce was also a key contributor at the plate, hitting .354 with four doubles, one triple, 13 RBIs and 10 runs.
Senior Nathan Darden was honored as the pitcher of the year. Darden was almost unhittable in 9-6A play, posting a 5-2 record with a minuscule 1.06 earned run average and 38 strikeouts in 39.2 innings.
Sachse had five more players selected to the first team.
Sophomore catcher Jhett Creel posted a .349 batting average and a .491 on-base percentage from his leadoff spot in the order, while adding three doubles, eight RBIs and 12 runs.
Junior first baseman Harper Howard ranked among the district leaders with a .415 batting average, with two doubles, 10 runs scored and 11 driven in.
Junior outfielder Chris Marcellus hit .324 with three doubles, one home run, 13 RBIs and 11 runs to earn first-team honors.
Senior pitchers Ryan Ochoa and Jason Scrantom were also named to the first team. Ochoa went 4-1 with a 1.45 ERA and 32 strikeouts in 29 innings. Scrantom, often used as a closer, recorded three saves with a 0.66 earned run average and 18 strikeouts in 10.2 innings.
Senior outfielder Davis Tea was selected to the second team, as he hit .333 with one double, one triple, nine RBIs and 12 runs scored.
Sophomore shortstop Cam Pruitt and senior pitcher Carson Sowell were also chosen to the second team.
The future looks bright for the Mustangs, as well, with Rangel, Ponce, Creel, Howard, Marcellus and Pruitt expected to return.
Rowlett posted a 20-9 overall record and returned to the playoffs for the 21st straight time in head coach Paul Carmon’s final season at the helm before heading into retirement.
Like Sachse, the Eagle drew the eventual state champions, with this series taking place in the bi-district round. And like the Mustangs, Rowlett was victorious in the opener before Rockwall-Heath was able to rally in the final two games to survive.
Junior Brock Knoerr was voted as the co-utility player of the year. Knoerr posted a .391 batting average with eight doubles, one triple, 22 runs batted in and 18 runs scored.
Joining Knoerr on the first team were senior pitcher Hudson Parker and junior outfielder Heath Salyards.
Parker was a lockdown starter, posting a 6-1 record with a 1.10 earned run average. In 38.1 innings, he recorded 60 strikeouts and he allowed one earned run or fewer in seven of his eight appearances.
Parker also made an impact at the plate, posting a .417 batting average with 16 doubles, one home run, 17 RBIs and 21 runs.
Salyards hit .391 with eight doubles, one triple, 22 runs batted in and 18 runs scored.
The Eagles landed four more players on the second team with junior pitcher Jaxon Kirkhuff, senior third baseman Chris Collins, sophomore outfielder Emilio Luna and junior designated hitter Antony Valenzuela.
Kirkhuff went 6-3 with a 3.34 ERA and 55 strikeouts in 46.1 innings and allowed two earned runs or less in seven of his 10 appearances. He also added 15 runs and 16 RBIs offensively.
Collins hit .290 with 15 runs and seven runs batted in, while Luna batted.292 with two doubles, two triples, 22 runs scored and 11 RBIs.
Valenzuela was one of the team’s top hitters, batting .345 with 12 runs and 14 runs batted in. He was also effective on the mound, going 3-2 with a 2.76 earned run average and 22 strikeouts in 33 innings of work.
Naaman Forest secured the fourth and final playoff berth out of 9-6A and had a trio of players named to the first team with junior pitcher Alex Davila, senior third baseman Jacob Khong and freshman second baseman Jason Flores.
Lakeview hung around in the playoff race until the final week of the season before finally being eliminated from contention. The Patriots were represented on the first team by senior pitcher Gabriel Nieves, senior third baseman Angel Agreda, senior shortstop Amir Mason and junior designated hitter Jaiden Moreno.
Garland, who was sixth in the final standings, had two first-teamers with junior pitcher Anthony Gonzales and junior outfielder Geber Durant.
To the victor go the spoils so it is little surprise that district champion Wylie was very well-represented on the list.
The Pirates had four superlative award winners, led by senior Luke Wiseman, who was given the top honor as the 9-6A most valuable player.
Sophomore Luke Lianthong was tabbed newcomer of the year, senior Reese Bassinger was selected as co-utility player of the year and the Wylie coaches were named staff of the year.
Wylie had three more players chosen to the first team with senior pitcher Evan Ballast, senior outfielder Dawson Cox and junior outfielder Logan Jeske.
9-6A Baseball All-District Team
Most Valuable Player
Luke Wiseman Sr. Wylie
Offensive Player of the Year
Alex Rangel Jr. Sachse
Defensive Player of the Year
Jesse Ponce Jr. Sachse
Newcomer of the Year
Luke Lianthong So. Wylie
Pitcher of the Year
Nathan Darden Sr. Sachse
Co-Utility Players of the Year
Brock Knoerr Jr. Rowlett
Reese Bassinger Sr. Wylie
Coaching Staff of the Year
Evan Ballast Sr. P Wylie
Anthony Gonzales Jr. P Garland
Gabriel Nieves Sr. P Lakeview
Alex Davila Jr. P Naaman Forest
Hudson Parker Sr. P Rowlett
Ryan Ochoa Sr. P Sachse
Jason Scrantom Sr. P Sachse
Jhett Creel So. C Sachse
Angel Agreda Sr. 3B Lakeview
Jacob Khong Sr. 3B Naaman Forest
Amir Mason Sr. SS Lakeview
Jason Flores Fr. 2B Naaman Forest
Harper Howard Jr. 1B Sachse
Heath Salyards Jr. OF Rowlett
Chris Marcellus Jr. OF Sachse
Dawson Cox Sr. OF Wylie
Logan Jeske Jr. OF Wylie
Geber Durant Jr. OF Garland
Jaiden Moreno Jr. DH Lakeview
Jonathan Stringer So. P Naaman Forest
Jaxon Kirkhuff Jr. P Rowlett
Carson Sowell Sr. P Sachse
Jonathan Carroll Sr. C Garland
Thomas Spencer Jr. C Wylie
Chris Collins Sr. 3B Rowlett
Cam Pruitt So. SS Sachse
Jaden Flores Jr. SS Naaman Forest
Jordan Anguiano Jr. 2B Garland
Ben Allan Jr. 1B Naaman Forest
Kenneth Haynes Jr. OF Naaman Forest
Davis Tea Sr. OF Sachse
Hayden Allen Sr. OF Lakeview
Emilio Luna So. OF Rowlett
Dylan Sanders Sr. OF Garland
Anthony Valenzuela Jr. DH Rowlett