Better Late Than Never: Wildcats Rally Past Allen In Sixth, Snap Three­ Game Skid

Starlocalmedia_041015
Some timely defense by Plano Senior senior Austin Toups, left,
and the Wildcats defense helped silence Allen senior Kyler Murray and the Eagles on Friday.

Matt Welch mwelch@starlocalmedia.com | Posted: Saturday, April 11, 2015 8:56 am

PLANO – Games like Friday versus Allen (3­-7 in District 6­-6A) haven’t been particularly kind to the Plano Senior baseball team this season.

The Wildcats (4-­6) have endured their share of hardships in low-­scoring, one-­run games during district play – sporting an 0-­3 mark in contests under those conditions – but managed to right the ship under similar circumstances on Friday. Staring down a 2-­1 deficit late, Plano broke loose behind some timely sixth-­inning offense to seal a 4-­2 victory.

“We’ve lost so many close games this year, so it was nice to win one of them for a change,” said Rick Robertson, Plano head coach. “We had discussions about it this week and I think we had a little more intensity tonight.”

That came in the form of a three ­run sixth stanza that saw all nine Plano batters get a turn at the plate. The majority of those at-­bats contributed to the rally, initially loading the bases with one out to set the table for a single up the middle by junior Quinn Waterbury to plate senior Mitchell Hansen for the tying run.

“It was just nice to get a big hit when we needed it,” Robertson said. “We’d been having to play station to station and get them one at a time, so it was nice to see some guys step up.”

One batter later, Plano junior Jaxsen Davis was hit by a pitch from Allen senior Danny Sigler to walk in Plano junior Reece Allen for the go-­ahead run and not long after, Sigler walked sophomore Garrett Maas with the bags still loaded to improve the Wildcats’ lead to 4-­2.

“It could have been some fatigue, but [Sigler] was low into his pitch count and was around 75,” said Paul Coe, Allen head coach. “He had been doing well, but just had an inning there where he didn’t get some calls.”

The sixth-inning smelling salts were much-­needed for a Plano offense that through five innings, had only advanced a runner to third base one time. It was also an uncharacteristic turn for Sigler, who had limited Plano to just one run on four hits without a walk through five frames of work.

His maroon and white counterpart was equally dynamic, as Hansen clamped down on the Eagles in the seventh to induce three straight outs, the last of which was a nifty grounder slung to first by sophomore Troy Lee to seal the win. Overall, Hansen’s complete ­game win featured just one earned run allowed alongside two strikeouts and a pair of walks.

“Pitching and defense will keep you there, and eventually you hope to get the hits,” Robertson said, “and that’s something that we haven’t been doing. We’ve been in position to win some of these close games, but haven’t been able to do it.”

That could be said for both teams, with neither entering Friday’s contest on the highest of notes. Plano’s win snapped a three­-game losing streak, while the Eagles have now dropped five of their past six district ball games.

Allen had chances to reverse that slump on Friday, most notably loading the bases up with two outs in the fourth inning only to fly out and end the threat with the count knotted, 1-­1.

“Timely hitting has been rough on us and catching a break here or there would be big for our ball club,” Coe said. “Right now, we’ve got to make our own breaks and we haven’t caught one yet. We’ll still keep battling, though.”

The Eagles managed to respond when presented with a similar scenario in their half of the sixth, as Conner Dominguez singled to score junior Camden Harrison for a 2-­1 lead that proved short-lived thanks to the Wildcats, who remain just one game behind Plano West for fourth place in the district
standings.

“I think this was a big game,” Robertson said. “We’re still right there and we still keep trying to dangle that carrot out there. … I don’t know if you can win every game in this district, but we just need to play our butts off in all of them and see what happens.”
The Wildcats will need that kind of mentality at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday when traveling to Flower Mound, while Allen hosts Flower Mound Marcus at the same time.