Five games remained in the District 5-6A baseball schedule heading into this week’s play, and three teams are locked up in the standings.
The only problem with a three-way tie is that there are only two open slots for a playoff position.
Keller is in the lead, with Byron Nelson nestled in second place. Then comes Central, Fossil Ridge and Timber Creek, all at 5-4.
Much of that may settle this week as Central and Fossil Ridge still have a rainout to make up before the Chargers start their week’s series with Byron Nelson and Ridge enters a series with Keller.
Timber Creek will have its series this week with Guyer after picking back up its halted game with Keller.
The race tightened early last week when Central took a 5-4 win over Ridge in extra innings.
“We’re playing more focused,” said Central head coach Matt Holly. “Last year we would play well early in the game and then lose focus. This year it’s flipped and we’ve stepped it up at the end of the game.”
Being able to take at least a game from Byron Nelson this week was likened to getting an insurance run during the course of a game by Holly.
“It would be huge. We’ve got the pitching and we’re hitting the ball better,” Holly said in terms of having a legitimate opportunity to at least garner a victory over the second place Bobcats.
Fossil Ridge won’t have an easy time.
After trying to reverse their fortune and earn a split with Central, the Panthers will start their series with Keller.
Timber Creek, after finishing their series with Northwest, is scheduled to start its series with Denton Guyer.
As for Keller, it got past Timber Creek with 8-7 and 6-1 wins. The one-run game was taken to the bottom of the ninth inning before Keller could register the win.
The Indians picked up a win over Ryan before their second game on Friday was halted in the middle of the second inning, tied 0-0.
Keller’s walk-off single in the Timber Creek game came after the Falcons had scored two runs in the top of the seventh to tie the game.
“Chase Green made a good catch to keep us tied going into extra innings,” said Keller head coach Rob Stramp.
Zane Wilkinson collected the game-winning hit for Keller. It was his second game-winner during district play, Stramp said.
In addition to the late-game heroics of Wilkinson, Stramp also acknowledged that the left-handed relief pitching of Nick Gardner has been critical in securing wins along the way.
“It’s been an eventful first half of the district so far,” Stramp said. “We’ve been fighting the weather along with it.”
Each team will have a final series of games next week before the certification is needed for the beginning of the bi-district round of the playoffs on May 8.