Mustangs eliminated by Marcus in regional quarterfinal

Posted Monday, May. 20, 2013  comments  Print Reprints
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You could hear the air just leave Grapevine last Thursday. One out away from getting out of a mess in the bottom of the sixth and preserving a one-run lead, everything fell apart.

Flower Mound Marcus No. 9 hitter Austin Laird drilled a three-run home run, to turn a 4-3 deficit into a 6-4 lead and win. From there, the Marauders never looked back. They swept the Class 5A Region I quarterfinal series in Game 2, 7-0, at Grapevine. The Mustangs ended their season at 27-10-1. The loss overshadowed some of the good Grapevine had accomplished in the game. The Mustangs scored three of their four runs on two-out hits. They also had a runner thrown out at the plate to end their first inning.

“We played hard,” Grapevine coach Tim McCune said after Game 1. “But [Laird] didn’t miss it. We didn’t get the fastball where we wanted to. It needed to go a little more outside. I just told (pitcher Cooper Hess) that’s going to happen.”

An emotional loss like Game 1 probably presented the fear that the Game 2 result would end up like it did. However, there was some hope that with the venue change to Grapevine could have changed things.

Obviously, it didn’t. The Mustangs managed only three singles and committed four errors. That conspired against Game 2 starter Zach Kornely, who took the loss. Marcus held a 1-0 lead after five innings, extended it to 3-0 after six and then broke it open with a four-run seventh.

“Marcus played really well, and we had to in order to be in the series,” McCune said. “You’re always going to have a hard time against good pitching. We just were not able to create a lot of offense.”

This was the furthest Grapevine had been in the postseason since 1999. But it didn’t diminish how well this group played. It won the District 6-5A championship and threw six shutouts in the process. The wins are also the most since the 1999 squad.

McCune will lose center fielder Satchel Goodwin, Kornely, third baseman Connor McGuire, outfielder Austin Ward and catcher Jacob Leal. However, there is a foundation returning in Hess, right fielder Grant McClelland and shortstop David Fry.

“We like the guys who didn’t get a lot of playing time this year,” McCune said. “They have a chance, but they have to work hard in the summer and offseason to get themselves ready.”

Tough night for the blue, Grapevine

In Thursday’s Game 1, there were three close calls that went against the Mustangs at first base. The first was on a throwing error which allowed a runner to reach first. He was originally awarded second by the first base umpire. However, the umpires met, changed the call and returned the runner to first.

Grapevine also lost on a close ground ball play in the fourth. In the fifth with a runner at first, McGuire laid down a bunt as a sacrifice and beat the throw. However, the first base umpire ruled that McGuire kicked the ball and called it no play. McGuire had to continue the at bat and wound up striking out.

Notable

The 13 runs Marcus scored in the two games were more than the total Grapevine allowed during its eight-game winning streak. The Mustangs only allowed eight during that stretch … the Mustangs pitching staff threw nine shutouts this spring.

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