Southlake Carroll has been waiting for this moment since last year’s UIL baseball state tournament. The Dragons lost to Deer Park in the 6A semifinals.
Carroll returns to state and is two wins away from a ring after beating Flower Mound Marcus 14-3 in Game 2 of the 6A Region I final on Friday night at Globe Life Park.
“We were pretty fired up and wanted to end it tonight. We didn’t want to go to a Game 3,” coach Larry Vucan said.
The Dragons (33-6) won in six innings to sweep the series. They won 6-0 in Game 1.
“This team is on a mission – they have been since the Deer Park game last year,” Vucan said. “I had no doubts that they’d be ready to play and I’m proud of them.”
They left little doubt Friday night when they scored four runs in the first inning – all with two outs.
“I didn’t have my best stuff in the beginning, but my offense once again picked me up,” RHP Nicco Cole said. “They kept hitting the ball hard – it’s been a fun season and there's still a lot to go."
Cole Johnson reached on an error and advanced to second. He scored on Nik Millsap’s first of three RBIs – a single to left field.
Will Quillen drove Millsap in with a single to center and Marcus committed two more errors that made it 4-0.
Quillen tripled down that right-field line and Millsap scored from first base in the third. Jorge Figueroa added an RBI single and Carroll went up 10-0 on RBI singles by Matty Werner and Cade Bell, and an RBI double from Adam Stephenson.
“We had nine or 10 strikeouts on Thursday so we were just seeing the ball a lot better tonight,” Millsap said. “Good things happen when you put the ball in play.”
The Marauders (29-13-1) got an RBI single from Vincent Mazzola with one out in the fourth.
The Dragons had a chance to end it in five after Millsap doubled in two runs in the top of the inning to extend the lead to 12-1, but Marcus scored twice with back-to-back RBI doubles from Zach Jordan and Will Harrison in the bottom of the frame.
Werner hit a ball that got past the shortstop and the Dragons scored twice in the sixth.
Cole allowed no earned runs on seven hits and struck out six batters. Jake Miller went 3 for 4 with two runs. Werner and Millsap went a combined 6 for 8 with seven RBIs.
“It’s nice to take a program to state for the second-straight year and hopefully this time we’ll finish it,” Millsap said.
The Dragons head to Round Rock next week. They last made the state final in 2008 and won a championship in 2002. The 6A semifinals are 4 and 7 p.m. Friday at Dell Diamond. The final is 4 p.m. Saturday.
“We’re excited to get back there, but we have unfinished business,” Vucan said.