The Carroll baseball team was able to overcome a 2-0 deficit against one of the area's top pitchers to advance to the area round of the playoffs this week, and coach Larry Hughes said he was extremely happy with his team’s effort.
The Dragons will square off with El Paso El Dorado in the second round of the playoffs at a time, date and location to be determined. See www.dfwvarsity.com for updated information.
“We've got a couple of coaches out there that have watched their games against Abilene,” Hughes said last weekend of the Dragons’ area-round opponent. “I will have to talk to them, and we'll start working on their scouting report next week.”
Carroll defeated Fort Worth Paschal 5-2 on Friday night in a one-game bi-district round in which Hughes said his team got off to a rough start.
“We had a slow start,” Hughes said. “Of course, we knew that they were kind of a one-pitcher team. They had a very good left-hander who pitched very well early on. [Ben] Leeper got off to slow start in the first inning and couldn't find his stuff, and they scored two runs.
“He did get out of a jam there, because they could have scored more runs than that. He settled down and pitched pretty well. We got one run I think in the third, and then in the fifth, we put together some good at bats and kind of figured him out. We had some good RBI at-bats and scored four runs.”
Joe Heineman closed the game out for the Dragons in the seventh to help Carroll advance, but Hughes said that Paschal's ace pitcher, Hunter Spielman, is as good as advertised.
“I'm really proud of my guys,” Hughes said. “They really did a good job offensively against a good pitcher. He had some electric stuff there going. We had to adjust and figure out, and the guys did and they got some big hits for us. He was great until we started figuring him out.
“He had good stuff. He's signed to go to UTA and play Division I baseball, and boy, he had three pitches going for him.”
Hughes said that he was really pleased to see his offense come through the way it did, as the Dragons have not always had to score a lot of runs due to their great pitching and defense.
“Our pitching and our defense is very solid and consistent,” Hughes said. “Offensively, that is always a question mark in the playoffs because you don't know what kind of pitchers you're going to see. You expect all good pitchers when you reach the playoffs.
“You don't know how your guys are going to do against a lot better arms, and better breaking balls and so forth, so that was a really good thing to see.”