The season came to an end this past weekend for the Carroll baseball team as the Dragons dropped a best-of-three series against Arlington Martin in the regional semifinals.
Carroll finished third in district competition this season and defeated Midlothian, Hebron and Coppell before losing to the Warriors in the fourth round.
“Obviously, they are a very good team with a great winning tradition,” coach Larry Hughes said. “We got down 2-0 in Game 1, and really fought back and got some big hits and won that game 5-2. The next night, they threw their ace, and we just couldn’t swing the bat and were shut out.
“Then Saturday, all I can say is it just wasn’t our day. We just seemed a little bit flat and just couldn’t get anything going. They got a big hit for a grand slam and scored six runs in an early inning, and we just couldn’t come back.”
Hughes said that reflecting on the season as a whole, he is pretty pleased with how things unfolded.
“You’re never satisfied at Carroll unless you win a state championship,” Hughes said. “But for our team, and what felt like was realistic, losing our No. 1 pitcher [Ben Leeper] for the year, our pitching staff stepped up and did a fantastic job. We would not have been able to accomplish what we did without them.
“Then we had an injury to one of our best offensive players in Eric Cole, and didn’t have him until the second game of district. The injury bug set us back, so I’m satisfied with the season because we had guys step in, play hard and really compete.”
Carroll has a total of 19 seniors on this year’s team and will return a total of nine players to next year’s squad.
Hughes said that he does believe that things are shaping up well for next season in terms of returners and players moving up from the JV team.
“We’ve got two returning playoff pitchers,” Hughes said. “Our shortstop, an outfielder and an outfielder/catcher are all coming back. So we have five returning [starters], and that should put us in good shape.”
Hughes said that he hopes his players take away a couple of things from this season.
“The real fun part is getting into the playoffs, and getting to experience the excitement and intensity of that level of baseball,” Hughes said. “I really hope they had fun with that and look back on that later in life and think, ‘Man, that was really fun.’
“Because I know that I think about how if I could do something over again, it would be going back to play high school or college baseball again.”