Ethan Grant firstname.lastname@example.org
Plano Senior clinched the outright District 10-5A baseball title Tuesday night in a 3-2 win over Plano East.
Senior Jake Fraze earned the win on the mound for the Wildcats (11-2 in district), who got an RBI single from junior Cody Farhat in the bottom of the third and a two-run home run by sophomore Quinn Waterbury in the bottom of the fifth to jump out to a 3-0 lead.
The Panthers (6-7) chased Fraze in the top of the sixth, but senior Kenneth Tabor was brought into the game in relief to record a four-out save and officially market Plano as 10-5A’s top baseball squad.
East made things interesting in the top of the seventh, getting a leadoff walk from senior Austin Palisch. He scored on a two-out double by senior James Rudkin to cut the lead to 3-2, but the first baseman was stranded there as Tabor recorded the game’s final out.
Sophomore Dylan Easterling took the loss for the Panthers. He surrendered all three Wildcats runs while giving up six hits, walking one and striking out three.
Fraze had four strikeouts on the evening.
It was a pitcher’s duel in Plano until Waterbury stepped to the plate in the bottom of the fifth.
The sophomore stroked a fly ball over the right field fence off Easterling to extend Plano’s lead to 3-0 and give Fraze some cushion he wound up desperately needing.
East had at least two runners on base in four of the contest’s seven innings, and had a runner in scoring position in five frames. But the bats went cold when those situations occurred, dooming the Panthers to only two runs.
The best scoring chance came in the top of the sixth, when the bases were loaded with one out for senior Reece Calvert. He grounded out to third base to score a run, but pinch hitter Raphael Nunez grounded out facing Tabor to end the threat.
Easterling took the loss, but he kept East in the ballgame and did a nice job of mixing up pitches against a potent Plano lineup. Head coach Travis Collins has to be encouraged about his young starter’s performance both from a playoff perspective and when thinking about the future.
For the Wildcats, wrapping up the title on Senior Night was an added bonus to beating a city rival. With 10 seniors on the squad, there was a lively crowd in attendance to celebrate their accomplishments with the program.
Sophomore Devin Gifford had a nice game for the Panthers, making three solid putouts in the field and collecting two hits. He’s looking like a stalwart at second base for the next two seasons, too…Farhat and senior catcher Michael Davis paced the Wildcats’ offense on a night that hits just weren’t falling. Davis’ double in the fifth set the stage for Waterbury’s blast…Tabor was wild entering the game in the sixth, likely an indicator of his stature as a starter, not a reliever. He settled down and worked around a walk and a double in the seventh to pick up the save, recording two strikeouts in the process…East will need a win on Friday to avoid a two-way tie for fourth with Plano West, which beat McKinney Tuesday night. The Wolves can tie the Panthers in the standings with a win and an East loss.