Panthers’ playoff run ends

Posted Monday, May. 20, 2013  comments  Print Reprints

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Fossil Ridge took the momentum of winning the second game in its best-of-three series against Arlington Martin in convincing fashion into the deciding regional quarterfinal game, but couldn’t close out the series, ending an impressive run for the 2013 season.

The Panthers lost Game 3 and the series to Martin and last Saturday afternoon with a 4-3 final at Dallas Baptist University.

The loss was difficult to accept for Fossil Ridge, especially in light of key plays that didn’t go its way.

A play at the plate and a tight strike zone left the Panthers and their fans numb.

“We feel like we won the game,” said Fossil Ridge head coach Doug Dulany. “There were a couple of things (that went) against us.”

Martin scored on a squeeze play at the plate which Dulany said he’s seen photographic evidence that the Panthers had tagged the runner out. The Martin player was called safe.

Panthers pitcher Sheldon Neuse had also thrown two would-be strikeout pitches that kept a Warriors batter’s at-bat alive and helped prove the difference.

Neuse also belted a three-run home run to put Fossil Ridge in front 3-2 in the bottom of the sixth of the deciding game.

Fossil Ridge had a rally fall short and lost Game 1 to Martin, 9-8, but came back with a vengeance in Game 2, pounding the Warriors in a run-ruled 11-1 win.

The Panthers end the season at 29-9-1.

“It’s hard to have closure on the season with a game like that,” Dulany said.

“We had a great season. It’s hard to accept that it’s over, especially when you think it’s not your fault,” Dulany added. “Ultimately, we have more feelings of that than sorrow. We really feel like we won the series.”

Dulany had to emphasize to the team after the game that a lot of things in life that aren’t fair and that you have to deal with adversity.

“We had one of the best teams we’ve ever had,” Dulany said. “That’s the tough part. I’ve felt more stress this year because we’ve had higher expectations than we’ve ever had.”

Dulany said it may take a while to fully assess their success.

“It’s a numbing feeling. It may take a while to get over this, as a coach. You just don’t get this type of season very often.”

When they do get past the disappointment of this season, Fossil Ridge will have plenty to look ahead to, as well.

The Panthers will lose three three-year starters, but will have six players coming back.

“This experience and having that many players go three rounds into the playoffs will give them a taste of what it’s like and motivate them next year, so that they’re able to feel comfortable in that spot,” Duany added.

The 2013 Panthers also set school records for most wins (29) and fewest losses (9). The previous record was 28 wins and 10 losses while in 4A.

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