Diamond rewind: Big small-ball innings help Plano even season series with Boyd, keep share of 10-5A lead
Ethan Grant firstname.lastname@example.org
A westward wind blew throughout Plano Senior’s 8-2 win over McKinney Boyd Friday night, one that certainly would have aided a pop fly in its quest toward becoming a home run over the left-field wall.
No balls left the yard in the District 10-5A contest.
“That’s a good hitting ballclub … when we got chances to score, we took advantage. We left some guys early, but kept at it, and (it) was good to see some runs across the plate.”
In fact, the ball barely got out of the infield.
The Wildcats (3-1 in 10-5A) used two big innings predicated on smart base running, well-placed hits and few lucky bounced to hand the Broncos (3-1) their first district loss of the season.
“That’s a really good ballclub,” said Rick Robertson, Plano head coach.
Boyd beat Plano, 5-3, Tuesday night in the first game of the home-and-home. Robertson described his team’s intensity as low for that contest, but was thrilled with the way the Wildcats came prepared to defend their home field.
“We were ready to play tonight,” Robertson said. “That’s a good hitting ballclub … when we got chances to score, we took advantage. We left some guys early, but kept at it, and (it) was good to see some runs across the plate.”
A two-out hit to left by junior Austin Toups in the bottom of the fourth put Plano on the board when senior Ryan Robertson scored from second.
Boyd tied the score at 1-1 in the following frame, but the Wildcats put together four runs in the bottom of the fifth without the ball ever finding the outfield grass.
With the bases loaded and zero outs, relief pitcher and sophomore Braxton Webb tried to cover home plate after his pitch skirted past senior catcher Tyler Collins. A low throw led to Webb getting bowled over, the runner being called safe and another run scoring in the process.
At that point the Wildcats led 3-1. Webb was slow to get up, but returned to pitch for the duration of the contest.
Plano tacked on two more runs in the frame before Webb and the Broncos were able to get out of the inning, but by that point, the damage was done.
“We ran the bases well,” Robertson said. “There was a lot of luck involved – the ball was being placed just perfectly on the infield for us. But hey, you’ve got to put the bat on the ball and make other people make plays. That’s what we did tonight that we really didn’t do [Tuesday].”
Starting pitcher and junior Mitchell Hansen capitalized on the Wildcats’ momentum with a one-two-three bottom of the fifth, and by the time the sixth rolled around, Plano added three more runs to their total for an 8-1 lead.
“We had guys ready, but we wanted [Hansen] to go back out,” Robertson said. “It was up to him. If he would have struggled, we probably would have taken him out.
“He went right out, got after them and they were swinging the bat. He was able to make it out of that inning, and we didn’t need him to take it any further.”
Senior Cameron Copeland relieved Hansen in the top of the sixth after the latter yielded a leadoff single and pitched the final two innings of the victory. Copeland allowed one inherited runner to score in the sixth, but pitched a scoreless seventh.
The result, coupled with Plano East’s 3-2 win over McKinney, creates an early three-way tie at the top of the district. The Panthers, Wildcats and Broncos all sit at 3-1 with Plano West (2-2) and Allen (1-3) within striking distance.
Plano will get its second straight home-and-home with a district leader when East visits at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, followed by a tilt at the Panthers’ field at the same time Friday.