Dragon Baseball Slides into More Tournament Play
May 29, 2018 04:02PM
● By Mike
Coach Larry Vucan’s baseball team failed to produce one extra-base hit last weekend in its Class 6A Region I semifinal series against Keller Timber Creek.
But the Dragons will be competing for a second consecutive trip to the state tournament nonetheless, riding two solid pitching performances to a two-game sweep of Falcons.
With the series win, Carroll advances to face fellow District 5-6A Flower Mound Marcus in the regional finals with all three games set for 8 p.m. at Arlington’s Globe Life Stadium. The series kicks off Thursday and runs through Saturday, if necessary. The Dragons and Marauders split their regular-season series in district.
It is the second straight season Carroll has reached the regional finals under Vucan, who is in his second-year as head coach of the Dragons. The Dragons are not new to postseason success and had previously reached the fifth round three times in four years from 2010-13.
As noted, and has been the case throughout the 2018 campaign, Carroll’s rotation led the way.
In two games against Timber Creek, the Dragons allowed an average of just two runs, with the Falcons doing all their damage in two innings while failing to score in their other 12 trips to the plate.
Timber Creek also struck first in each contest, but the Dragons remained resilient.
In Game 1 on Thursday, The Falcons broke a scoreless tie with three runs in the bottom of the fourth inning only to see Carroll answer with three of their own in the top of the sixth to tie before breaking the deadlock and earning the win with two more in the top of the seventh.
The Dragons did all their damage in the sixth with two outs, receiving four consecutive singles from Cole Johnson, Nick Millsap, Will Quillen and Jorge Figueroa. A Timber Creek throwing error then tied the game at 3-3.
In the seventh, Cade Bell kicked off a string of three straight singles to load the bases and after a wild pitch allowed the go-ahead run to cross, the Dragons picked up insurance on a single by Millsap.
Three arms combined on the mound for Carroll.
Kyle Warden started on the bump and went 3.1 innings with three runs (two earned) allowed on eight hits with four strikeouts.
Bergen Krug entered in relief and picked up the win after firing 2.2 no-hit innings with three strikeouts . Dragon pitching star Adam Stephenson then came on to throw a clean seventh inning to record the save.
The deficit came sooner and was slimmer Friday in Game 2, with Timber Creek touching the plate in the top of the first inning only to be blanked the rest of the way.
This time Carroll answered the Falcons’ opening score with two of their own in the bottom of the third before tacking on insurance in the bottom of the sixth on an RBI when Figueroa stole third and crossed the plate moments later.
The Dragons had gotten on the board in the third when two singles and a walk with nobody out loaded the bases and led to sacrifice flies from Johnson and Quillen.
Dragon ace Nicco Cole picked up the win on the mound, falling just one out shy of a complete game after surrendering one run on four hits with seven strikeouts in 6.2 innings. Adam Stephenson once again nailed down the final out for his second save of the series.
The Dragons now set their sights on Globe Life Park, Home of the Texas Rangers where they will face Flower Mound Marcus in the next round. Game one of the three game set willbegin at Thursday 5/31 at 8pm. Game two and three (if necessary) will be the same times on Friday and Saturday also at Globe Life Park.
Game 1: Carroll 5, Keller Timber Creek 3
SLC 0 0 0 0 0 3 2 — 5 10 0
KTC 0 0 0 3 0 0 0 — 3 8 2
WP — Bergen Krug. LP — Rhett Halstead. 2B — KTC: Gregory Sands.
Game 2: Carroll 3, Keller Timber Creek 1
KTC 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 — 1 4 2
SLC 0 0 2 0 0 1 x — 3 6 1
WP — Nicco Cole. LP — Cesar Paz. 2B — KTC: Gregory Sands.