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Southlake Style

Spring Sports Review: Baseball

Apr 17, 2014 11:08AM ● By Dia

Photo Courtesy of Rex Teter.

Dragon Pride Spring

Season Update

22-3 (8-2)

With a 22-3 (8-2) record, head coach Larry Hughes' baseball team has been ranked as high as No. 1 in the state and No. 4 in the national polls behind its high-powered offense and stinging pitching staff. With only a pair of losses in two close games, including a one run heartbreaker against a very good Weatherford team in the Arlington Heights Classic, the Dragons have started the 2014 season right where they left off in 2013.

Facing a number of tests early on this season, the Dragons have been up for the challenge, going undefeated in two of its three tournaments. They also won the Round Rock Hardball Classic and Mid Cities tournament and were within one run of winning the Arlington Heights Classic.

With early district wins over 4-5A foes Keller Central, Timber Creek and Richland, the Dragons have gotten off to a hot start as they look to repeat as district champions. Standing in their way atop the district is 5-0 Keller Fossil Ridge, whom the Dragons will face two more times before the season’s end. With the first half of the regular season in the books, Southlake Carroll will rely on returning All-District pitchers Joe Heineman and Ben Leeper and All-District outfielder Drew Brown.

 About the team

With nine returning starters from last year’s 34-6-1 (13-1) squad — which was stopped short of a state championship by powerhouse Arlington Martin in the regional semifinals — the 2014 Southlake Carroll baseball team feels there is some unfinished business to attend to. In addition to three returning All-District performers, the team has plenty of senior leadership from returning starters Barry Casey (1B), Ryan Wiegel (OF), Keaton Duhon (OF) and Garrett Hale (1B).

The Dragon pitching staff has been exceptional this season, throwing eight shutouts and giving up only 30 runs in 20 games. Led by senior pitcher and Stanford commit Ben Leeper, whose 5-0 record and 1.47 ERA leads the Dragons, the pitching staff has been unstoppable, causing major problems for opposing bats. Accompanying Leeper on Hughes’ staff are junior pitcher Kevin Cramer and seniors Joe Heineman and Garret Hale. Hale, who also leads the team in homeruns (two), and batting average (.417), has been a key member of the pitching staff, posting an ERA of .778 in 18 innings pitched. A two-sport athlete along with Hale, Heineman has been an ace this year, boasting a 5-0 record along with a miniscule ERA of 0.452. Cramer, the youngest of the quartet, posts a 3-0 record to go along with a stellar 1.71 ERA.

Averaging just over six runs per game, the Dragon bats have showcased victory margins rivaling football scores. Nebraska football commit Drew Brown helps power the team as its RBI leader (19), while junior outfielder Eric Cole’s .410 batting average provides another potent weapon — he can generate runs in a hurry. With explosive hitting and a dominant pitching staff, the sky is the limit for this year’s team.

Quote

“Our goal is to win the state championship. That is the expectation. We work every day to be better at practice and individually. We put it all together out on the field, and hopefully it’s enough.”

Roster

Head coach: Larry Hughes

Assistant coaches: Austin Cranford, Larry Vucan 

10

Alex Johnston

OF

Jr.

14

Anthony Martin

OF

Jr.

22

Barry Casey

INF

Sr.

5

Ben Leeper

P

Jr.

18

Cooper Westland

P

Sr.

4

Drew Brown

OF, C

Sr.

23

Drew Davis

INF, P

Jr.

21

Dylan Smith

P

Sr.

9

Eric Cole

OF

Jr.

7

Garrett Hale

INF, P

Sr.

13

Hudson Sanchez

INF

So.

26

Jackson Boland

OF, P

Sr.

24

Joe Heineman

INF, P

Sr.

15

Joe Polanski

P

Sr.

6

Kameron Ram Age

INF, P

Sr.

8

Kevin Cramer

INF, P

Jr.

3

Korey Gillespie

P

Sr.

17

Michael Basler

P

Sr.

19

Nic Motley

C

Jr.

2

Nick Dicapua

C

Sr.

12

Ryan Bellamy

OF

Jr.

1

Soren Krug

INF

So.

16

Wayne Powell

P

Sr.