The Carroll baseball team is storming into the playoffs following a seven-game win streak, and coach Larry Hughes said he believes his team is ready to go.
The Dragons will open up the playoffs with District 8-6A champion Midlothian, where Hughes said he knows his team will have its hands full.
“They won District 8, and their strength is their pitching,” Hughes said. “They've got three very good pitchers on their team, a righty, a lefty and then another righty that comes in, in relief. He could probably be a third starter if they need it, but they are really good.
“This is the toughest first-round opponent we've had since I've been here. We're going to have to get good pitching and keeps the run down, and then get some big hits against their pitching and get some guys on base.”
The series will be played at QuickTrip Park in Grand Prairie. Game 1 is set for 8:30 p.m. Thursday, Game 2 at 8:30 p.m. Friday and if needed, a Game 3 would be played at either 4 p.m. or 7 p.m. See www.dfwvarsity.com for scores and scheduling updates.
Carroll defeated Fort Worth Arlington Heights by a score of 12-5 in a warm up game this past weekend, and Hughes said his team looked pretty good in one area in particular.
“We had this set up for several weeks before, hoping that we would both be in the playoffs,” Hughes said. “The number one thing it was for was to allow the pitchers that haven't been getting a lot of action in district to get some. We wanted to get some pitchers a little work.
“We were a little sloppy defensively, but we really came on and swung the bats well. It's just one of those things where it was Saturday afternoon at the end of the season, and there was not a whole lot of energy going on in the game.”
Hughes said that while he is happy with the way his team has picked things up in recent weeks, he still does not believe Carroll is playing its best baseball.
“We've won seven in a row, but we haven't played our best baseball yet,” Hughes said. “We have played solid, and we have pitched really well. Our two main pitchers, I could not have asked them to do a better job in district than what they have done in Kevin Cramer and Matthew Canterino. They have just been fantastic. I think their combined ERA is just a fraction above one. That's why a lot of the other guys haven't gotten any action.
“If you pick the right two starters for district, and they do their job, there's not a whole lot more to ask for. I don't think we've played our best defensively, and we're kind of off and on when it comes to hitting. We still have some guys that have a lot of hitting potential that have not quite clicked yet.”