Mansfield Sports

Tigers heating up at right time to face Richland in playoffs

The Mansfield baseball team has entered the postseason as the second seed from District 8-6A following an immaculate victory over South Grand Prairie this past weekend, and coach Gary Vaughan said he believes his team is ready to roll.

The Tigers open the post season with Richland this weekend, where Vaughan said he is quite certain that his team will have its hands full.

“They've got some great arms on the hill,” Vaughan said. “From what I've seen, they swing the bat real well and they play good defense. Richland is there for a reason. They're coming from a real tough district with Southlake Carroll, Trinity and Coppell. They've played well.”

Mansfield will open bi-district at 7:30 p.m. on Thursday against Richland at Mansfield High School.

Mansfield defeated South Grand Prairie 6-0 in a game to determine playoff seeding, and Vaughan said he was very pleased with his team's effort.

“I thought we performed extremely well, after having lost a heartbreaker the night before by 3-2 to Midlothian,” Vaughan said. “I was real proud of how they responded. We had an outstanding pitching debut by Tyler Stacy. He threw a no-hitter and walked just one batter. That really helped us.

“Then we got up to bat and got about 12 or 13 hits. The game was never in question once we got started.”

Vaughan said he is feeling pretty good about how the team is competing with the playoffs about to start, but added that there is still a little room for improvement. .

“We're playing pretty solid,” Vaughan said. “Our pitching has been very good, which allows us to stay in the ballgame. It keeps the ball games close. What I would like us to do is get a little more aggressive, and take a little closer look at better swings, which, when you get good pitching that's what you have to do. I'm sure that runs will be at a premium, so we've also got to do the little things in order to score.”

The Tigers went four rounds into the playoffs last season before losing to eventual state champion Flower Mound.

In order to repeat upon that type of success this year, Vaughan said it will take a couple of things.

“To go deep, we are going to have to up our game a little bit,” Vaughan said. “We can't lose opportunities to score. When you get someone to second with less than two outs, one of those guys is going to have to come up with a base hit to get him in.

“I believe that our bunting game is coming around, and I believe it will be key to moving people into position,” he said. “We just have to get those key base hits when we get runners into scoring position.”