Midlothian flips the script on Centennial in one-game playoff
EVERMAN — A year ago, Centennial came into its one-game playoff with Midlothian with a game plan to deal with the Panthers’ ace Russell Smith and executed it, coming away with a 2-0 win bi-district round victory.
In a rematch Saturday, Midlothian flipped the script on the Spartans and their ace hurler Jacob Meador, who defeated the Panthers last season.
The Panthers were aggressive at the plate scoring six times in the first inning on the way to an 8-0 win in a Class 5A Region II one-game bi-district playoff at Everman.
“Give them credit,” Centennial coach Brad Hart said. “They worked on hitting 88 to 90 (miles per hour pitches) and they did it. They had a game plan and they executed it. They came out wanting to be aggressive and attack at the plate and we didn’t for whatever reason.”
Midlothian (15-8) roughed up Meador, who was making his first start since March 29, tagging the TCU verbal commitment for eight runs (five earned) in four innings.
The junior walked six and struck out six.
The loss marked the programs earliest exit from the playoffs since losing a three-game bi-district playoff series to Aledo in 2013.
The Spartans (13-15) were able to collect just four hits off Midlothian starter Ryan McCaskill, who fanned eight and walked one. Centennial didn’t get two runners on base until the seventh inning.
“We worked all week on hitting 82 and couldn’t do anything,” Hart said. “We just couldn’t execute today. We were late on 82. It was a bad time to not be on. We just did not have a good game at all today.”
Things went sour for the Spartans in the first inning.
Josh Tankersley opened the inning with a single. With one-out and runners at first and second, McCaskill singled home a pair of runs. The Panthers loaded the bases with a single and walk before Jonathan Little cleared the bases with a double to left.
Midlothian added its sixth run of the inning on a wild pitch.
The Panthers tacked on another run in the second inning on a two-out RBI-single by McCaskill. A wild pitch in the fourth inning brought home Midlothian’s final run of the game.
In his final mound appearance as a Spartan, senior David Pruit tossed two scoreless innings. Pruitt struck out two and a walked one.
Offensively, Meador went 2-for-3 while Miguel Santos doubled and Ethan Diaz had a hit.
The loss signaled the end of a season that started with numerous rainouts that put a team that lost nine players to graduation in 2017 behind the eight-ball early.
“It’s been a crazy season,” Hart said. “We knew we were going to be young and didn’t have a lot of experience. We played really tough teams early on and these guys learned a lot from that. We put a decent run together in district while fighting through some injuries. They just hung in there and kept battling.”
Santos, Stramber playing in Grand Prairie
Former Spartans Thomas Santos and Payton Strambler will be playing in the area over the weekend for McLennan Community College at the NCJAA Region V Tournament.
The Highlanders are the No. 2 seed in the double-elimination tournament that will be played at Texas AirHogs Stadium in Grand Prairie. McLennan (53-13) opens the tournament at 5 p.m. Friday against Midland College.