The Mansfield baseball team appears to be hitting its stride as district gets underway, and coach Gary Vaughan said that is very comforting to see.
The Tigers crushed DeSoto by a score of 20-0 last Friday night, and will play at South Grand Prairie at 7 p.m. Thursday in a game that Vaughan said should present some challenges.
“They’re a really feisty ball club,” Vaughan said. “And Coach [Art] Senato is always going to have his kids ready. They get after you at South Grand Prairie, and they have a great tradition, just like us. It will probably be an exciting ball game, and it’s usually pretty close.”
In the Tigers’ recent defeat of DeSoto, Vaughan said he had great play on both sides of the ball and especially on the mound.
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“To start off with, we came out with good pitching, which kind of stifled their bats,” Vaughan said. “So, we were able to shut them down for three innings, which allowed us to focus on our offense.
“We came through with a total of six runs in the first two innings, and by that time, with good pitching, you’ve definitely got a good chance. After the second inning, we started getting lots of walks and timely hits.”
Vaughan said that he believes the non-district schedule did a great job of preparing the Tigers for the level of competition they will face in 8-6A this season.
“Our non-district schedule was against some very good teams,” Vaughan said. “We were in the Grapevine tournament, where we faced some of the area’s top teams, and faced some great competition in our home tournament. I just wanted to see us play some of those good teams to continue to get better with our approaches at the plate and defensively.”
Vaughan said that it is the approach his players are taking in their plate appearances that is really helping.
“We’re getting timely hits, which at the start of the season, we’d get somebody to third base with less than two outs and could not find a way to get them in,” Vaughan said. “Now we are starting to get timely hits and deep flies to get the runner in, and it is starting to pay off.”