Bobby Witt Jr. hits homer at Globe Life Park during playoff game
The regional semifinals begin Wednesday May 22 and run through Saturday May 25.
The winners will clinch a spot in the regional finals.
1. Globe Life Park to host 6A Region I semifinals
GLP has already hosted a few high school playoff games this season and will get a chance again this week with Euless Trinity and Flower Mound, and Odessa and Southlake Carroll.
This is Carroll’s third series at GLP the past two years. The Dragons beat Marcus last year before going on to win the 6A state title. They also sweep Richardson Pearce during the area round this season.
But Carroll’s semifinal series with the Bronchos is a one-gamer, 7:30 p.m. Friday.
Odessa (23-12-1) beat EP Montwood in three games to advance to the semis for the first time since 2009. The Dragons (28-11) swept Marcus 6-2 and 7-1 to extend their winning streak to 13 games.
Before SLC and Odessa play, Trinity and Flower Mound meet up in Game 1 at 7:30 p.m. Thursday. Flower Mound (30-12), which played Lake Ridge at Globe Life two rounds ago, knocked off Hebron to make its first trip since 2014.
The Trojans (24-12), co-district champ from 3-6A, are making their best playoff run since 1977. They’ve won 10 in a row and eliminated Arlington, Midland Lee and Frenship.
2. College atmosphere
Nine colleges across Texas will be the site for many statewide regional semifinal games; Oklahoma, Houston, Dallas Baptist, Abilene Christian, Sam Houston State, Lamar, East Texas Baptist, Hardin-Simmons and St. Mary’s.
Colleyville Heritage (33-3) and Amarillo (27-8-1) will meet in the 5A Region I semis at L. Dale Mitchell Park at the University of Oklahoma starting Thursday with a doubleheader on Friday.
OU is 180 miles north of Heritage; 285 miles east of Amarillo.
It’s also a rematch as the Sandies knocked off the Panthers in three games in last year’s semis.
The No. 1 player in the nation, Bobby Witt Jr., is a projected top-5 draft pick, and son of former Texas Ranger Bobby Witt Sr. He’s also an OU signee. Mason Greer is an Auburn commit and the son of former Ranger Rusty Greer.
3. Third times a charm
The Benbrook Bobcats are in their third season playing varsity baseball and here they are in the regional semifinals. Benbrook (26-4-2) will play Longview Spring Hill (23-10-1) in a three-game series starting Wednesday at Rockwall-Heath.
“The hard work and dedication the seniors have had since day one is what makes this group special. They have set the bar, the expectations and the tradition of our young program that looks to be successful for a number of years,” head coach Justin Chavez said. “Last year when we lost to Stephenville, we had guys in the weight room on Monday of the next week preparing for this year. We always talk about the extra work and dedication it takes to be a great player, not only on our team, but being one of the best in the state.”
Chavez came over from Wichita Falls Hirschi along with head football coach Cody Slater five years ago.
“We all thought it would be a great opportunity for not only us, but our families as well,” Chavez said. “Our motto is FAMILY-ALL IN. The guys have built a team bond that is growing everyday along with their confidence.”
The Bobcats are coming off sweeps over Ranchview, Hillcrest and Crandall, where they’ve outscored them 39-8. They beat Crandall in the quarterfinals 6-1 and 2-1. Devin Bennett scattered four hits and struck out six in Game 1. Xander Carrasco allowed two hits and struck out nine in Game 2.
“Our goal coming into the season was to play a very competitive schedule. Did I think we would have 20 wins? No, but we do and our schedule has played a huge role in what we’ve done the last few weeks. Winning the close games like we have, you have to credit our schedule and the players for not getting rattled in late game situations,” Chavez said. “Our pitching staff has been the difference. These guys have stepped up each game, we are getting timely hitting, and playing really good defense, basically trying to play clean baseball as much as we can.
“Our confidence is growing and if we can manage to get by this week who knows what will happen. I know that these guys will have memories that they’ll be able to tell their children and grand-children one day, and that’s what this is all about, teaching the game of life through the game they love.”
Benbrook won the district title this year. The Bobcats entered the final week of the regular season, trailing by a game to Castleberry, but were able to sweep the Lions that week to clinch the championship.
Chavez goes back to his pitching staff as a key to their success.
“The loss against Diamond Hill-Jarvis put our backs against the wall, so we have been playing with a playoff mentality for five weeks. Our pitching staff (Xander Carrasco, Devin Jennings, Gabe Washington, Davis Benton, Devin Bennett) has been outstanding throughout the playoffs. We have only allowed eight runs and two have been earned.
Travler Moore, an all-state selection last season, is signed to play at Fort Scott Community College in Kansas while Carrasco will play at UT-Dallas. Benton is still deciding over a few schools and sophomore Payton Poole has set the single-season record with 47 RBIs.
4. Argyle going strong
The Eagles, who are the defending 4A state champions, enter the regional semis 35-1-1 and are ranked No. 2 in the nation according to USA Today. They play a three-game series with Canyon starting Wednesday at ACU.
Argyle, which also won state in 2015, only has one loss and that came to 6A champ Southlake Carroll in early March. The Eagles also tied Corpus Christi Ray in February.
They’ve won 23 games in a row and are outscoring playoff opponents 62-6. The Eagles swept Brownwood 22-0 and 11-1 in the quarterfinals. Chad Ricker had two homers, seven RBIs and threw a five-inning no-hitter during Game 1.
5. District 14-5A rematch in the finals?
All four teams reached the quarterfinals, but unfortunately, two teams had to go home. Midlothian and Corsciana moved on past Cleburne and Joshua in three games to snap semifinal droughts.
Midlothian is in the semis for the first time since 2006 while Corsicana last made it in 2007.
The Panthers (24-13) and Tigers (25-9) both face first-time semifinalists in Wylie East (21-13) and Frisco Lone Star (32-7) with a doubleheader beginning Wednesday at DBU.
East has taken down Wakeland, Turner and McKinney North to reach the semis. Lone Star Oklahoma State commit Ryan Bogusz is a player of the week after his Game 1 performance against Dallas Wilson in area. He was a walk shy of a perfect game and struck out 16 batters, and hit for the cycle with four RBIs all in the same game.
Corsicana and Midlothian split the season series.