Mansfield baseball making itself known through playoff run

Posted Wednesday, May. 14, 2014  comments  Print Reprints

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The Mansfield baseball team has flown through its season under the radar.

Tigers coach Gary Vaughan said he didn’t quite know what he had when the season started.

He knew there was a good group of veteran players, seven seniors and seven juniors, but no “high-profile” players in the mix.

Only two of those seniors will be playing college ball next year, one at UTA and one at Northeast Texas Community College.

However, after quite a few close ballgames in district play, Mansfield claimed the District 7-5A title.

“It’s kind of our personality to feel like we’ve got a chance to win if we can keep the game close. So we play good defense and then we look up and someone can get a bunt down or come up with a big hit to help us win,” Vaughn said.

Once Mansfield reached the playoffs and won its bi-district series against Temple in a two-game sweep, Vaughan said his team definitely appeared on the radar.

But facing teams such as Coppell in a one-game series in the area round and Flower Mound this weekend, the Tigers are a little more like David facing two Goliaths of North Texas baseball.

Mansfield won the toss in its area-round matchup against Coppell and elected to play the one-game playoff, which worked in its favor.

“We wanted one game,” Vaughan said. “We thought matching up that it would be a better chance for us if we could get them in a one-game playoff.”

Mansfield (28-5) faces Flower Mound (26-11-1), which has three excellent starting pitchers. Vaughan said he wanted his team to get the chance to experience three playoff games in the minor-league venue of QuikTrip Park in Grand Prairie.

“I think it’s exciting for our kids first and they deserve to be in a two-out-of-three series I think,” Vaughan said. “It’s also exciting for the fans, and it’s exciting for us coaches too, to see what we can do in a three-game series and not put it all on the line in a one-game.”

Vaughan hopes what will carry the Tigers through another difficult playoff series is what has made the team so successful this season.

“The chemistry is just over the top with this group,” he said.

Austin rematch

The fact that Southlake Carroll (28-4) and San Angelo Central (24-8-2) are playing a best-of-three baseball series at Concordia University in Austin is a bit of a head-scratcher.

Carroll athletic director Kevin Ozee said both schools wanted to play on an artificial turf field so the chances of being rained out after traveling would be less, and any West Texas towns with proper facilities had college graduations, making hotels hard to find.

So, the two teams will travel to Austin this weekend in a rematch of a series Carroll won in two games last year, 6-4 and 2-1.

Another rematch

This weekend’s best-of-three Class 4A regional semifinal softball series between Aledo (27-4) and Wolfforth Frenship (24-14) is a rematch of last year’s regional final.

However, Aledo coach Jeff Lemons said Frenship has an edge in familiarity.

Aledo returns almost all of its starters from last year where as Frenship returns only four.

“I think that with them being more familiar with us, they are going to have a little more confidence,” Lemons said.

Aledo swept the series last year, winning 5-2 and 2-0, with nearly the same roster. The key this week is to stay focused and play the game that has gotten Aledo to this point in the playoffs, Lemons said.

“They’re going to draw that and look back at their charts and everything and be a little more familiar with us,” he said. “We just have to make sure we’re good and focused for it.”

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