Baseball fights for playoff spot on Senior Night


Carter Bryant

Senior Will Nopper races in an attempt to beat out the throw to first base.

Matthew Fisher, Staff Reporter

The baseball team (14-13 overall, 8-5 in district) needs to win tonight against Royse City (14-16-1, 4-9) in order to clinch a spot in the playoffs at home tonight at 7:30 p.m. With a win tonight, they are looking to make a push to secure the third place playoff seed and hope the rest of the bracket plays out to their favor.

“We are pretty confident in making the playoffs, which was our season goal,” senior Dane Locklear said. “If we win this game Friday then we will for sure be in the playoffs with the chance of a three seed. Going into the game on Friday we have an expectation to win, and we will leave it all on the field to do just that.”

The Leopards will be going into the game with a three-game win streak after a 6-5 win Tuesday against the Bulldogs.

“We’ve got the first win against Royse City on Tuesday,” sophomore Jacob Terwilliger said. “That really helped us because it also almost clinched a playoff spot for us. Getting on a roll with these wins really helps us come together and play strong as a whole unit.”

During the playoff push there have been some players who have excelled.

“So far it’s been the same people throughout the season,” senior Brandon Merrill said. “Our pitching is what has carried us through most of district. [Tuesday] night Mason Marsh threw really well and Jordan Yoder closed it out. Our offense has really been making big strides, which is really big carrying into playoffs.”

Locklear said the bench has really stepped up these last couple of weeks.

“Players coming off the bench have taken the opportunities that they have gotten and done the most of them,” Locklear said. “This has really helped us get some wins and gives us confidence in every player on our team, not just the starters.”

Bouncing back from a rough season last year (10-21-1, 1-13), Terwilliger said a postseason bid could mean a lot.

“Making playoffs would be a huge deal this season,” Terwilliger said. “Considering we went 1-13 last year, it will be a big deal for this year’s seniors and will definitely help build confidence. Hopefully we can make a run and give state a shot.”

The Leopards have changed up their practices for playoffs.

“In practice the last few weeks we’ve done a lot more game-type practices,” Merrill said. “Like inner-squad scrimmages so that we can get more in-game style reps. We’ve been doing that kind of stuff instead of working on grounders and pop-flies.”

The baseball team also looks to improve their batting, which Terwilliger said has been a weak spot this season.
“Our problem with hitting this year is our approach at the plate,” Terwilliger said. “We don’t have the right approach and most guys go up there just guessing. So right now it’s not so much about our ability to hit the ball but the mind aspect of getting that pitch to hit and driving it. It’s all about looking for the pitch you want and being disciplined.”