Pitcher’s dominance leads Dragons to district title

Posted Monday, Apr. 22, 2013  comments  Print Reprints
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Left-hander Tyler Alexander’s numbers are pretty easy to recite.

But think about what goes behind the 8-0 record and 0.35 ERA. The Carroll senior has pitched 60 innings. That’s 180 outs. He has recorded 113 strikeouts. That means the defense has only had to record 67 outs behind him.

Now, that defines domination. And that’s why the Dragons (25-3, 12-1 in District 4-5A) have already wrapped up the district championship and are coasting into Friday’s regular season finale against Haltom.

“His command is outstanding,” coach Larry Hughes said. “He’s had good location on everything. The fastball has been between 88-91 mph, and the main thing is that he has developed a really good slider.”

That slider has made Alexander unhittable. Hughes said Alexander experimented with several slider-style pitches last summer but when he found this one, it really changed how he attacked the strike zone. Opposing batters are only hitting .124 (25 hits). There are a few extra base hits, but not many.

Well that didn’t happen in last Friday’s no-hitter against Keller Fossil Ridge. Alexander struck out 14. The only baserunner was one who was hit by a pitch in the second inning. That was it.

Really, Alexander came close to throwing three consecutive perfect games or no-hitters. In his two previous starts, he’s carried perfect games into the seventh inning and surrendered one-out hits. You just don’t do that.

For Alexander, there is motivation to erase what happened in the 2012 playoffs. In Game 1 of the bi-district playoff round against Flower Mound Marcus, he broke his wrist while backing up a play at third base.

Alexander didn’t return until Game 3 of the Region I championship series against Arlington Martin.

Regardless of the playoff run, it will be interesting to see how Major League organizations will treat him for the first-year player draft on June 6. Alexander has signed with TCU.

Carroll’s pitching depth

If there’s going to be a run to play in the Class 5A state tournament, pitching determines a team’s fate.

Behind Alexander, Hughes has two dominating right-handers in senior Sean Thompson and junior Ben Leeper. Thompson has made more appearances as Leeper dealt with an arm issue earlier this year. Thompson has a 1.18 ERA, while Leeper is at 0.36. Carroll’s team ERA is 1.34.

“If you get two dominant arms, you have a shot,” Hughes said of making the state tournament. “But it makes a difference when you have one who is a lefty and creates matchup issues. When you have three like we do, it makes you feel really good. We just have to play good defense behind them.”

Briefly…

Carroll already knows it will meet Arlington Lamar in the bi-district playoff round next week. However, arrangements have not been made. The Vikings are the No. 4 seed in 3-5A … Hughes has scheduled a non-district game against Rockwall for 2 p.m. Saturday at Carroll … First baseman Barry Casey was lost for the season two weeks ago with a back injury … There is hope that left fielder Ryan Weigel (ankle) can return to the team soon … Hughes intends to keep third baseman Kenny Hill batting fourth when the playoffs begin. Several weeks ago, Hughes moved Hill from third to fourth because teams weren’t pitching to him. He’s hitting .475 with 26 RBIs.

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