Baseball’s productive week results in district champion title

Senior+left+outfielder+no.+2+Trent+Rucker+attempts+to+hit+the+ball.+The+Leopards+will+play+their+last+home+game+this+Friday.

Olivia Lauter

Senior left outfielder no. 2 Trent Rucker attempts to hit the ball. The Leopards will play their last home game this Friday.

This week, baseball defeated Sherman 4-3 in a postponed game. The game started on Tuesday night, however, the team finished the last two innings on Wednesday because of a weather delay. Later in the week, the Leopards defeated McKinney North, acquiring the district title. 

“Tuesday night was a wild experience,” head coach Ryan Gros said. “We were up 4-0 in the fifth inning, and Brandt Corley was pitching great. We got into a tough spot with the bases loaded in the fifth inning and lightning came which suspended the game. This ended the night and required us to have to come back the next day to pick back up. This also meant we had to take Brandt out of the game the next day, which was tough because he was having a great game.”

Senior shortstop Kolby Branch led the team with two hits, one run and one RBI. Sophomore second baseman and pitcher Kyle Branch and senior designated hitter Ian Warren also contributed with one run each. 

“As a team, we did well controlling the game and making sure we took care of business,” Kolby Branch said. “I played well and did what I could to help the team. Glad that we could take care of a team that we should always beat.”

On Tuesday, senior Corley pitched up until the lightning delay and had eight strikeouts. Right off the bat, Corley had three consecutive strikeouts and held Sherman to one run on the mound.

“Brandt had a great performance on the mound,” senior left fielder Trent Rucker said. “Until the lighting came, he had only given up one hit and allowed zero runs through four innings. Dominic Dechant and Kyle Branch did a great job on Wednesday coming out and finishing it on the mound. Kolby Branch also did well on offense with two hits and an RBI.”

On account of the weather, the Leopards finished out the remaining two innings of the game on Wednesday. 

“Coming back the next day was a challenge, but it was one we were prepared to accomplish,” Gros said. “We have prepared all year for chaotic situations and to be at our best when our best is needed, and that’s exactly what we did. We came back the next day and performed well to finish the game. Our players have complete confidence in themselves and their teammates to perform in all circumstances, and the expectation from our players is to control what we can control and adapt when things aren’t perfect.”

In the last two and a half innings on Wednesday, Sherman had a slight comeback scoring three runs, but the Leopards held them off for two and a half innings and secured the victory. On Friday, the team faced McKinney North and left victorious in a 7-2 victory allowing them to take district.

“Our team’s biggest strength is to stay strong in chaos,” Kolby Branch said. “We all know deep down what it takes to win, and everyone will do their part to get the job done.”

The team faced Mckinney North this past Friday and won 7-2 making them the 10-5A district champions

“We have a great group of guys who have created a family atmosphere,” Gros said. “I’m happy for our kids. They’ve worked really hard since day one. They have certainly earned being a district champion and an opportunity to go compete in the playoffs.”

The boys moved above Wylie East, who’s record is 7-3 overall in district. 

“I feel good about our performance,” Rucker said. “We continue to hit as a team and get jobs done. Our infield continues to make crazy plays and lead our team.”

The team’s record is 11-1 in district, and will play on the road against the 16-12 Denison Yellow Jackets tonight.

“My goal is to win as long as we can and hopefully take home a state title,” Kolby Branch said. “I don’t want to look too far ahead but I have dreamed of that for years.”