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Crystal Baseball: Predicting the 6-6A Diamond

Matt Welch and Kendrick E. Johnson, Staff Writers Mar 19, 2017

Perhaps more than any other sport on the District 6-6A athletics calendar, baseball could wind up being the most wide-open title race of them all. The 6-6A schedule began on Tuesday and did so without a clear-cut favorite not just for the district championship, but the playoff race, in general.

That picture figures to clarify in the coming weeks, and in the meantime, the Star Local Media sports staff collaborated to project the final 6-6A standings.

T1. McKinney Boyd

Kendrick E. Johnson: Boyd is currently 9-7-1 after two tournament weekends while making progress throughout the year and getting better every day.

Behind the bats of Jordan Jackson, Zion Mayberry and Ryan Dempsey, Boyd heads into district play expecting to compete for the district title, make the post season and go on a deep playoff run. The Broncos will lean on pitchers Parker Wilson, Chad Brown, Jack Hagan, Carson Mayfield, Connor Mangus, and Austin Buley to make their goals become a reality.

T1. Plano Senior

Matt Welch: The Wildcats have as consistent a playoff tradition as any program in 6-6A in recent years, and continuing that tradition will require a more consistent approach at the plate.

Plano has leaned on the pitching of Jacob Mattox, Caden Foster and Matt Foster, plus overall solid team defense for a positive non-district campaign, and history favors the Wildcats sticking around in the playoff fray this season.

T3. Allen

Matt Welch: Another team relatively low on returning varsity experience, the Eagles played with their full lineup just three times during non-district, but the results were encouraging leading into Tuesday’s 5-0 shutout of Boyd.

The top half of Allen’s order, headlined by Dylan Ditzenberger and Cole Maxwell, should present plenty of problems for opposing pitchers in 6-6A, and if the Eagles’ defense fulfills its potential, a playoff spot could be in the cards.

T3. McKinney

Kendrick E. Johnson: So far this season, McKinney has been one of the bigger surprises in the area do to complying a nice 13-5 non-district record.

The Lions calling card has been an explosive offense which has produced five runs or more in 13 of McKinney’s 18 games this season. McKinney must continue producing runs and getting consistent quality start out of their starting rotation if they plan on making any noise in district play.

5. Wylie

Matt Welch: The Pirates departed Class 5A on a high note, advancing four rounds deep in the postseason last year, but have struggled to recapture that momentum in a higher classification.

Graduating four all-state performers will do that to a program, but there’s still plenty of talent on Wylie, evidenced by quieting a surging Plano East club on Tuesday, 4-3.

6. Plano West

Matt Welch: The Wolves are adopting a defense-first mentality this season, an approach that paid some positive dividends in their district opener against McKinney. Although the Lions were 6-6A’s top preseason performer, West didn’t commit any errors and mounted enough timely offense to halt McKinney, 2-1.

If the Wolves’ defense remains a constant, they should be in the playoff discussion.

7. Plano East

Matt Welch: One of the bright spots in 6-6A baseball so far has been the emergence of East power hitter Andrew Mills, who is already up to six home runs on the year, including a grand slam in non-district play against Highland Park.

The Panthers played maybe the toughest non-district schedule of any team in 6-6A, and time will tell if that pays off as East continues to find its footing under first-year new head coach Jordan Byrd.

8. Denton Guyer

Matt Welch: Much like the rest of 6-6A, Guyer was inconsistent during non-district play. However, the Wildcats developed quite the knack for close contests, staging 13 games decided by two runs or less.

Guyer is still trying to find its way on offense, eclipsing three runs scored just once in its past 12 games, and that could make for a daunting venture through 6-6A.

For continued news and coverage on the local sports scene, follow Matt Welch on Twitter @MWelchSLM