Maybe Mother Nature did Grapevine’s baseball program a favor.
Had the wet weather through the first part of the week not pushed Grapevine’s regular season finale with Fort Worth Eastern Hills until this past Friday, the Mustangs would have waited a long time to play a baseball game. Try nine days.
Instead, the Mustangs are pretty much staying in routine. Grapevine (20-5-1, 10-2 in District 6-5A) took care of Eastern Hills on senior night, 17-0, and used the first half of the week to prepare for their Region I bi-district playoff series against Saginaw Chisholm Trail.
Weather permitting, the opener is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. Thursday at Grapevine. The second game is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. Friday at Chisholm Trail. A deciding third game would be played at noon Saturday at Grapevine. Grapevine coach Lee Yeager had to win a coin flip in order to play a series instead of a single game.
“It really turned out to be a good week, the way everything worked out,” Yeager said. “We were able to do things normally and keep in the routine. The focus for us was to make sure we executed everything we did on the mound and at the plate and in the field.”
Because he has so many choices, Yeager had not decided how he was going to set his rotation for the series. The options are senior right-hander David Ash followed by senior right-hander Nick Evarts and sophomore right-hander Connor Neuman.
However, depth is going to play role for as long as Grapevine’s season continues. Junior Kyle Flamm and senior Josh Slezak should also factor from the bullpen unless Yeager decides to give one a start.
Start from the bottom
While most high school teams are not going to feature a strong bottom third of the order (the No. 7, 8 and 9 positions), Yeager doesn’t feel that away. He likes the production he has received all season from senior third baseman Daniel McIntire batting seventh, senior DH/outfielder Justin Roach batting eighth and Neuman batting ninth.
“Connor is our leading hitter and runs well,” Yeager said. “He does a great job hitting in front of [leadoff hitter] Antonio Lima. There are 12 guys on this team that we really like and know they are going to help us. So we need for them to keep stepping up and playing at a high level.”
Colleyville Heritage season ends
The Panthers (6-18, 2-10 in District 7-6A) closed their season last week. It was the first time in head coach Alan McDougal’s nine seasons the Panthers didn’t make the postseason.
“Frustrating for sure,” McDougal said. “We were very competitive all season but could not consistently put together offensive success to come out on top in many games. District 7-6A was great, but not one in which success would be there without the ability to score runs consistently.”
However, the Panthers will return six starters for the 2016 season. McDougal is hoping that the learning experience of this season will be applied successfully.
“There’s a process over outcome that will remain our focus as we move forward,” he said. “We’ll continue to get better as we moved toward next season.”