Week one of the UIL baseball playoffs has come and gone. Some favorites lost and a few underdogs won. Teams were shuttled all over Texas and parts of Oklahoma just for the chance to extend their 2011 campaigns and creep one step closer to a state baseball championship.
And now, only two teams from District 4-4A remain. The Lake Dallas Falcons nipped a no. 1 seed, and Rider did what they usually do. Here’s the breakdown of last weekend’s 4-4A match ups:
Denton Ryan (7-5) vs. Wolfforth Frenship (13-2)
Wolfforth Frenship finished second in District 3-4A. They had a chance at the no. 1 seed, but lost to Canyon. So with the second seed firmly in tow, it was off to Mineral Wells to take on the resurgent Ryan Raiders.
Despite Frenship’s gaudier district record, the Ryan Raiders were almost universally considered as the favorites to win this bi-district matchup. The Raiders were already getting a late-season boost from Nash Knight’s return from a knee injury. Plus, Adam Choplick recently was okayed to commence pitching again after recovering from Tommy John surgery. In his first start where he really stretched it out, all Choplick did was throw a 71-pitch perfect game over Little Elm to lock up the third seed.
But sometimes the underdog can sneak up on you. Just ask Canyon (more about that in a minute). The Raiders were swept in a Friday double-header 6-5 and 5-2 in the nightcap.
Ryan was in good shape to win game 1 until Choplick ran out of gas and Frenship seized the opportunity and the game in the seventh. Well, at least they got it done in one day. That way, you don’t have to be bummed-out and beat-down on consecutive days. Life is far too short for that.
The Colony (9-3) vs. Canyon Randall (10-4)
Sorry Denton County, this one’s another upset. The Colony would have been considered a favorite even if they didn’t have Matt Dean, or if they hadn’t defeated their district’s juggernaut, Rider, handing them their only district loss of the season. So what happened?
Well, third seeded Canyon Randall (of the dreaded District 3-4A) just absolutely mashed. The Colony never could recover from their game 1 beat-down.
Randall was doing just fine leading 7-5 going into their half of the seventh inning. Then they absolutely unleashed the fury on the Cougars by plating 11 runs in that inning. Game 1 final score: 18-5. Yikes.
At least the Cougars mustered 5 runs in game 1. That was five more than they could plate in the second game, as they were man handled by Randall’s Addison Russ who pitched an 11 strikeout, two-hitter. Elimination visa granted to The Colony. Final score, 9-0.
Wichita Falls Rider (11-1) vs. Dumas (7-7)
Just based on the name alone, you’ve got to pull for Dumas. After all, “The name is Dumas.” That’s cool enough, but with a nickname like the “Demons” what more could you ask for? Well, maybe a tad more offense.
Aside from all of that, doesn’t everybody always pull for the 4th seed? Everyone except for Rider of course. Seems like they’re always playing them. That’s what happens when you win your district year-in and year-out.
Rider systematically deflated Dumas 8-5 in game 1. Then Rider followed the lead of ace Ben Smith, who had 16 strikeouts in route to a 6-2, series-clinching victory. Demons exorcised.
But don’t feel bad, Dumas. Rider does that stuff to just about everyone else. So that’s the way it’s supposed to go. The no. 1 seed eliminates the no. 4 seed. And the Yankees eliminate the Rangers in the ALCS. The Los Angeles Lakers sweep the Dallas Mavericks. Blah blah blah. But hold on just a minute, every now and then you get an awesome upset:
Lake Dallas (7-6) vs. Canyon (14-1)
In the only 4-4A vs. 3-4A matchup that went the full three games, there was certainly no shortage of offense, nor intensity.
For the full breakdown of this monster upset, follow this link. The Canyon Eagles just couldn’t believe it when their ace, Austin King, was dealt his first loss of the season in game 1, 9-4. The Eagles squandered scoring opportunities; the Falcons didn’t. That, plus a strong start from Brandon Cogbill and the Eagles found themselves in the peculiar position of possible elimination.
Game 2 the next day was exactly how the Canyon squad envisioned game 1 going. The Eagles struck first and plated 5 runs off of an erratic Marshall Little. 3 more in the second inning by Canyon and the Falcons were just trying to keep from getting run-ruled. They ended up losing this one 14-5.
Game 3 was an up-in-the air affair as both Canyon and Lake Dallas have questions in regards to a true third-starter (much like the Texas Rangers). But the Falcons had a clear advantage as go-to long middle reliever Dylan Andrews was given the nod to start. Derek Odell was to toe-the-rubber for the Eagles.
Odell is an average pitcher, clearly not as dominant as Canyon’s first two starters. Odell not playing at shortstop weakens Canyon defensively. The Falcons hit in seemingly every inning and really got hot in the sixth to the tune of a six-run outburst, highlighted by Marshall Little’s two-run bomb over the centerfield wall.
And there you have it. District 3-4A vs. District 4-4A ends in a split, with 3-4A’s second and third seed teams advancing while 4-4A’s first and fourth seeds prepare for the area-round of the UIL playoffs.
Lake Dallas will take on El Paso suburb, Clint Horizon, and Rider will face El Paso’s Chapin; neither site nor time have been scheduled as of today’s writing.
You can subscribe to Timothy’s to receive Timothy’s articles directly in your inbox by clicking on “subscribe” at the top of this article. You can also follow him on Twitter @TMurrayHowell. Facebook users can “like” Timothy by clicking “like” next to his byline.