The season came to an end for the Mansfield baseball team this past weekend, as the Tigers came up just short in their area-round series versus Keller.
The Tigers wrapped up the regular season with a 22-7 overall record as the District 8-6A runner up, and coach Gary Vaughan said that he was pleased with the way that this team finished things out against Keller in their last series of the season.
“We faced a good opponent, and I thought our kids responded pretty well,” Vaughan said.
Vaughan said that when he reflects on the season as a whole, he really could not be more satisfied with how his team competed throughout the year.
“From where this group started to where it ended, we just made giant strides, as far as playing the game correctly,” Vaughan said. “They worked really hard to get us where they got us.”
The Tigers won a play-in game against South Grand Prairie to win the second-place spot outright and then defeated Richland in the bi-district round.
Vaughan said that one downside for the Tigers is that his team will be impacted by graduation.
“We have nine seniors, and you don't have a successful team if you don't have some strong seniors that are willing to lead that group,” Vaughan said. “They had good chemistry, good work ethic and were not afraid to work hard. The result was that they were successful in their play and in the playoffs.”
Mansfield has four players moving on to play college ball next season.
In spite of the loss of so many seniors, Vaughan said that he is still optimistic about what he has returning next year as well as the talent that he has moving up from the JV and freshman teams.
“We had three sophomores that started for us this year, so that's encouraging,” Vaughan said. “With our younger guys getting some experience on the varsity as far as pitching, we feel we will have a good selection of pitching candidates.
“We also expect to get back some kids that were hurt this year. Hopefully they will be healthy next year and we will be in good shape.”
Vaughn said that when he looks back on what his team was able to accomplish this past year, he really hopes his players take away one thing in particular.
“One thing is that they have learned how to play under pressure,” Vaughan said. “We did that. We had pressure games all throughout district. Because we really couldn't go to any of our tournaments to kind of grow up in, we pretty much had to jump right into the fire, because we started out with a district ball game.
“So I want them to remember how to play under pressure, because they definitely learned that this season, and I am proud of how they did with that.”