Colleyville Heritage didn’t have the end to the regular season it wanted this past Friday. A Hurst L.D. Bell 16-batter bottom of the sixth led to 10 runs as the Blue Raiders defeated the Panthers, 12-3.
The bad news is that Colleyville Heritage (19-12, 12-2 in District 6-5A) had its 12-game winning streak snapped. The bizarre news is that the Panthers were outscored in its two district losses, 24-4.
The good news is that the game was virtually meaningless, because Colleyville Heritage had already wrapped up the outright district championship. The top-seeded Panthers meet Hebron, the No. 4 seed in District 5-5A, in the Class 5A Region I bi-district round.
Game 1 is scheduled for 7 p.m. Thursday at Hebron. Game 2 is scheduled for 7 p.m. Friday at Colleyville Heritage. A potential deciding third game is scheduled for noon Saturday at Hebron. The winner faces the winner of Midlothian-Killeen Harker Heights in the area round.
“We had not lost a game since March 11 and to see their reaction after the game was something I took as a positive,” head coach Alan McDougal said. “They were really bothered. It’s not the way you want to feel. But Thursday is a fresh start.”
About the Hebron series
McDougal said he doesn’t have a set starting pitching plan for the series. But it will involve the usual names of Chris Scherff and Mitch Stark. Jake Thompson’s return has added more depth. And Alec Maley should figure into the mix.
Colleyville Heritage’s first four in the lineup – Logan Swofford, Griffin Tolle, Scherff and Trey Smith has been pretty consistent. But the lineup’s fortunes could hinge on how Ryan Ramsey performs in the No. 5 spot.
“He’s going to be pivotal for us,” McDougal said. “I think people will look at this series that this is evenly matched. Neither one of us have a dominant pitcher. The lineups are similar. It’s going to be a very good series.”
A must-win on Friday turned into complete frustration and eventually an end to an otherwise distracted season.
The Mustangs endured a disastrous first inning against Irving Nimitz. The Vikings scored five runs and won 8-1. Couple that with Euless Trinity’s win over Carrollton R.L. Turner, and the Mustangs (16-14, 8-6 in 6-5A) finished the season in fifth place. They needed to win Friday to force a playoff play-in game.
Grapevine’s starting pitcher never recorded an out before departing. He surrendered two hits, two walks, hit a batter and an error that led to the Nimitz eruption. David Ash came in and settled the game down. But by then it was too late.
This turned into a very erratic season for Grapevine. With the sudden departure of longtime coach Tim McCune, assistant Jeff Harp was pressed into duty as the interim head coach. He had some knowledge of the roster but not all of it.
Grapevine just never could put together a solid stretch of baseball until the second half of 6-5A play, when it went 5-2.
“The only players I knew were the ones who played football and baseball,” Harp said. “I told them that Tim and I had known each other since the early 1990s and there would be some things similar and some things different.
“It was a roller coaster season for everybody. But I enjoyed the parents and getting to know the players.”
As for the head coaching vacancy, Harp acknowledged he has applied for it. But it will take some time before GCISD executive athletic director Phil Blue makes his choice. It’s likely that other candidates Blue has considered or will consider are still coaching with the playoffs beginning this week.