Keller’s baseball team matched the most successful run in the school’s history by making it to the third game of the Region I finals.
But that’s where the run ended last weekend, when the Indians dropped the finals series to Arlington Martin, 2-1. This marks the third straight season Martin has ended the Keller season in the playoffs.
The previous best season was 2004, said Keller head coach Rob Stramp.
Keller won the Game 1 of the series at Dallas Baptist University, 9-8.
Sign Up and Save
Get six months of free digital access to the Star-Telegram
The Indians’ seven-run fifth inning gave them just enough cushion to take the opener.
Game 2 was a 6-3 win by Martin, which was able to forge an early lead and hold on for the win.
The deciding game, with a trip to the state tournament on the line, gave the Keller fans some excitement.
The Indians jumped out to a three-run lead after their half of the first inning.
Keller’s defense and starting pitcher Gabe Martinez were able to avoid any damage in the second inning in a bases-loaded, no-outs jam.
But a five-run third inning by Martin led to a Warriors 14-4 win.
Stramp had gone with Lane Rice on the mound in Game 1 and surprised some by putting the usual third-game starter, Jacob Feret, out for Game 2. That left starter Martinez as the hope for the final game.
In Game 3, Keller exhausted almost every pitching option to try and corral the Martin bats.
The Indians ended the season at 27-5, the most wins by a Keller club, and they collected another district championship.
“We’ve had some good teams the last 20 years,” Stramp said, “and we’ve won more games and collected a district title. But this is the most together team I’ve had in terms of leadership.”
Stramp said it was a great team – not so much for being a collection of great players – but for the leadership and tenacity.
“We just hit a wall today,” Stramp said on a hot afternoon following Game 3. “We couldn’t muster anything.”
Many of the team leaders were seniors who had graduated the previous Saturday.
Fourteen Indians were seniors and will now hope the experience gained by the underclassmen on the long playoff journey pay dividends in the future.
Among those on the current roster, Bradley Gneiting, Brady Lindsly, Hunter Seay, Kyle Rich, Zane Wilkinson Max Castellucio, Nick Roy and Shea Langeliers will return.
Stramp and the Indians have a history of finding new faces to step in for graduated players such as Martinez, Lane, Luke Wakamatsu, Phil Young, Peyton Grassonovits and Bryan Berner, to name a few.