The Carroll baseball secured a district championship with victories over Fossil Ridge and Haltom last week, and coach Larry Hughes said that he believes his team is well prepared for the postseason.
The Dragons will open up the playoffs with Fort Worth Paschal in the bi-district round, and Hughes said there is one major problem the Panthers present.
“They have one really good left-handed pitcher, and they wanted to play one game,” Hughes said. “They won the one-game flip. Then I flipped them for home, and we won that. Their pitcher is our biggest concern. They are kind of a one-pitcher sort of team, but any team that is in the playoffs has played well enough to be there, so you have to respect their ability, and we do.
“We have been scouting them, and we feel really good about our chances in one game with our number-one pitcher Been Leeper. We feel good about that match up at home.”
Carroll will play Paschal at 7:30 on Thursday night in Southlake.
Carroll defeated Haltom by a score of 8-3 on Friday night, and Hughes said it was a good all-around effort from his team to secure the best record in district 4-5A.
“Joe Heineman pitched five innings of shut out ball and could have finished the game,” Hughes said. “I wanted to get a couple of guys in that are potential pitchers for the playoffs a little bit of action. Really, it was just a good close-out game.
“Sometimes, those kind of games are not really inspired, but our guys really went out and played and did what they what to do to finish out the season. Because Fossil Ridge lost to Timber Creek, we were the outright district champions.”
Haltom easily could have become a trap game for the Dragons, and Hughes said he was proud of his team that they remained focus and got the result for which they were looking.
“When you're talking about high school baseball, that's always a tough thing you worry about,” Hughes said. “You want to make sure that you play the type of baseball you are capable of playing against the teams you are ahead of. The games against the top teams, you don't worry about as much because you feel like your team will be up for them.
“It's the ones that you are supposed to beat that coaches worry about the most, and really, they just did a fantastic job of what they did all year of playing consistent baseball – getting good pitching, good defense and timely hits.”
Carroll finished the season with a 25-4 overall record and ranked as one of the top programs in the state, and to have a long run in the postseason, Hughes said it will take a couple of things.
“Number one for any team is that you are going to have to have good pitching,” Hughes said. “You're going to come up against good teams and good line-ups, and you have to keep them from scoring. If you can keep the runs down through good pitching and defense, then the pressure stays off the hitters to score as many runs.”