As District 6-6A’s baseball schedule reached its midpoint earlier this week, all of two games separated first place from seventh.
All but one team in the eight-squad conference had between three and five wins entering Friday’s slate of ballgames, leaving plenty up for grabs in the coming weeks.
That balance has been showcased on the scoreboard as well. Entering the week, nine series had been played between teams within the district’s top seven — of those home-and-home matchups, eight series resulted in a 1-1 split.
As ball clubs embark on the second half of their conference schedules, here’s where things stand within the district.
Editor’s Note: All stats and records reflective of games played prior to Friday
1. Marcus (5-2)
Closely knit as the competition has been, the pollsters remain impressed by the Marauders, who checked in at No. 6 in the latest Diamond Pro/THSB 6A Top 25.
Performances like Tuesday’s 20-6 run-rule win over Plano West or a 14-1 rout of Flower Mound on March 17 show why.
Like everyone in 6-6A, the Marauders aren’t immune to strong pitching and defense, totaling five runs in a series split with Coppell, but with two-thirds of their lineup intact from last season, and the one-two pitching tandem of Tate Evans and Tyler Schott, Marcus isn’t tied for first place at the midpoint by accident.
In Tuesday’s win over West, 13 different Marauders recorded a hit, highlighted by three doubles from Jeff Martz.
That may be as hot as the Marcus bats are all season, but there may not be another team in 6-6A with that kind of potential up and down their lineup.
Remaining Series: Hebron, Lewisville, Plano East
1. Flower Mound (5-2)
The other half of the district’s first-place tie, this is familiar territory for a Flower Mound program that’s just under two years removed from a regional finals appearance.
Through seven games, the Jaguars have paved their way behind a deep stable of pitchers that head coach Danny Wallace is plenty willing to use. Only once across Flower Mound’s first seven games has a pitcher thrown a full five innings — Cole Carter in a 6-0 shutout win over Lewisville — with names like Jack Arthur, Parker Clark and Santhosh Gottam all capable of throwing key innings for the Jaguars.
Arthur doubles as a main cog in the team’s batting order, manning the No. 3 spot for a lineup averaging nearly seven runs per game since being held to one in its district opener against Marcus.
Remaining Series: Plano West, Plano, Coppell
3. Plano East (4-3)
In search of their first playoff berth since 2014, the Panthers shined early into the district schedule with a 4-1 start but entered Friday looking to halt a two-game skid after surrendering nine runs in back-to-back losses to Flower Mound and Plano West.
The Jaguars were the first team to top East on Tuesday — unbeaten in the three previous district starts for Ben Baker-Livingston. He’s one of the more durable arms in the district, having gone the distance twice already while totaling 36 strikeouts in four outings.
With Austin Stanton and Apollo Cassimitis among the capable arms for the Panthers, East will rely on that pitching depth while trying to ignite an offense that’s averaging just 3.3 runs over its past four district games.
Remaining Series: Plano, Coppell, Marcus
3. Plano West (4-3)
Tuesday’s 14-run loss to Marcus was a sore spot amid an otherwise encouraging start to district for the Wolves, who managed splits in series with Coppell and East to boost them into a tie for third place at the midpoint.
Finding the offense to overcome tough outings on the mound and in the field has been a challenge for the Wolves, but when able to keep opposing batters in check, West has shown it can hang.
Nick Moore and Chase Spencer have earned their keep in helping anchor both the top third in head coach Kevin Clark’s lineup while also logging their share of innings on the bump. Both teamed up to upset Coppell on March 23 and Spencer got the nod in the team’s 9-2 victory over East on April 1.
Remaining Series: Flower Mound, Hebron, Plano
3. Coppell (4-3)
The only other team in the district ranked among 6A’s top 25 are the Cowboys, slotted No. 18 despite entering the week with a .500 district record. Chayton Krauss keyed a pivotal win over Hebron, 3-2, behind a complete-game effort on the mound and three RBIs at the plate.
Coppell hasn’t been afraid to live dangerously with four of its last six games in district decided by one run — the Cowboys are 1-3 in those ballgames.
The bats have run hot and cold for Coppell, totaling 26 runs in wins over Plano and West but just 16 runs total in its other five district matchups, but the pitching and defense are as strong as there is in 6-6A.
Behind Krauss, Tim Malone and another deep pitching staff, the Cowboys have limited 6-6A foes to just 3.1 runs at the midpoint.
Remaining Series: Lewisville, Plano East, Flower Mound
6. Hebron (3-4)
Despite having already defeated two of the teams seeded higher in the standings — Flower Mound and East — the Hawks’ penchant for head-to-head splits has kept them around .500 each step of the conference schedule.
Tuesday’s one-run loss to Coppell dipped Hebron to just 1-3 in the first leg of their four home-and-home series, but they’ve managed to save face for the most part on Fridays. That’s thanks in part to the pitching of MJ Seo, which helped limit East and Flower Mound to a combined three runs in two convincing wins.
Like other teams in the district, Hebron has battled some peaks and valleys from the plate as well. Still, the upside is there with veterans like Trent McCown, Dalton Balma, Connor McGinnis and Seo leading the way.
Remaining Series: Marcus, Plano West, Lewisville
6. Plano (3-4)
Perhaps no other team in the district underwent more change in the offseason than Plano, graduating all but a few players from a state-ranked 2020 club and breaking in a new head coach after Rick Cremer was promoted following Rick Robertson’s retirement.
Yet the Wildcats remain formidable, scratching wins off Coppell and Hebron to stay in hunt. Even in a two-game sweep to Marcus, one of those losses came in walk-off fashion for the Marauders.
The Wildcats were low on returning starters but Jason Hawkins and Kyle Bade have eased things by holding down the top two spots in Cremer’s lineup while also splitting time on the mound. Bade was instrumental in a recent 4-3 win over Hebron, two-hitting the Hawks across 5.2 innings pitched.
Varsity newcomers like Logan Anderson, Jackson Peters and Blake Van Cleve have contributed as well.
Remaining Series: Plano East, Flower Mound, Plano West
8. Lewisville (0-7)
Congested as the action is elsewhere in the district, the Farmers’ first few weeks of 6-6A have been a struggle. Still searching for its first win in conference play, Lewisville has been outscored 64-7 in its seven district losses.
After surrendering double-digit runs in their first three 6-6A ballgames, the Farmers have at least steadied things a bit more defensively with opponents scoring six runs or less over their past four contests. The pitching of Drew Schmidt has had a hand in that.
Offense, however, remains a chore for Lewisville. Although a top third that includes Schmidt and Jiwoong Park has flashed moments of brilliance, the Farmers have mustered multiple runs in just two district games so far.
Remaining Series: Coppell, Marcus, Hebron