Walk-off RBI single lifts Cowboys to gritty series sweep over Prosper

Meer Mahfuz, Staff Writer

LAKE DALLAS – The stage was set for a Texas high school baseball classic between Prosper and Coppell. After a scoreless six innings on Friday, the opportunity for heroics presented itself for either team to take the lead, giving the Eagles a tie in the series or the Cowboys a series winner in front of packed stands.

The Cowboys rose to the occasion, both on the mound and on deck.

Coppell junior right-hander Will Boylan’s strikeouts and sophomore second baseman Tanner Sever’s walk-off RBI single on a line drive to center field with two outs and a strike were enough to get the Cowboys over the line in game 2 and sweep Prosper, 3-2 on Thursday and 1-0 on Friday, in the Class 6A Region I quarterfinals at Lake Dallas High School.

“[Hitting the walk off RBI single] feels amazing,” Sever said. “[Prosper senior pitcher Josh Barnhouse] threw the pitch right where I wanted it and I hit it, the rest is history. When it happened, I didn’t know what to do and everyone started running after me so I started to run in the other direction but I was so happy and so excited that we were able to win this game and move onto the next round. I’ve always dreamt of playing for Coppell and now that I get to [play for them] and this [walk off RBI single] is my first walk-off at Coppell and so far, it’s been amazing.”

This game marks the Cowboys’ 12th straight win and the series win marks the Cowboys’ third consecutive series sweep. Coppell (30-7-1) advances to the Class 6A Region I semifinals for the first time since 2016. 

The Cowboys will meet Keller (31-5), No. 2 in the Texas High School Baseball Coaches’ Association Class 6A state poll, in the Class 6A Region I semifinals. Game times, dates and locations are yet to be determined. 

Six innings of solid pitching from Coppell senior right-hander Tim Malone meant that Prosper (27-13) would know what was coming its way and, tactically, the decision was made to put Boylan in relief for a different look on the mound. 

Boylan’s aggressive pitching, namely his two-seam fastball, struck out two Eagles and led to a line out of another in the top of the seventh, giving the Cowboys’ the opportunity to win the series with any score. The pitching duo finished with six strikeouts, two hits and three walks over the seven innings.  

“I was nervous when I found out that I was going to be on the bump but there’s a lot of energy with a lot of fans out here and both student sections going at it, I love to play in that environment,” Malone said.

Despite Coppell senior right fielder Will Rodman popping out as the first batter, senior center fielder Tony Vernars reached first on a single with a line drive to right field. And as sophomore catcher Bradley Castillo got out on foul tip, Vernars was able to steal second, giving Sever the opportunity to score Vernars.

“I could not be happier for [Tanner] to come up big for us in that spot,” Coppell coach Ryan Howard said. “[Breaking the deadlock] took Tony to get on base more than anything. Tony getting on base with his single, stealing second to get in scoring position and giving Tanner the opportunity to at least drive him in was huge. None of this happens without Tony Vernars having a great at-bat, getting on base to get us going.”

GAME 1: Fortuitous second inning gives Coppell narrow series lead

LAKE DALLAS – Despite Coppell conceding a two-run homer in the first inning and Prosper conceding three runs in the second inning, Game 1 between the Eagles and the Cowboys in the Class 6A Region I quarterfinals was highlighted by the battle between Coppell senior pitcher Will Rodman and Prosper junior pitcher Lucas Davenport. 

“Both pitchers were very elite tonight, both of them showed why they are two of the best arms in the area and both of them showed why they are going to play at the next level,” Coppell coach Ryan Howard said. “They are great competitors and this game could’ve gone either way.”

Rodman came into the game with four consecutive complete game shutouts but did not look like himself in the first inning. After allowing Prosper to take the lead with a two-run homer and two hits in the first inning, Rodman recollected himself mentally and had the support of the defense to continue the game. 

“Prosper was able to jump on a few pitches that we left up early, which was expected because they are a great hitting team,” Howard said.

After regaining his rhythm, Rodman and the Cowboys’ defense rendered Prosper’s offense responseless for the rest of the game, ending with four hits and two runs, four strikeouts and one walk over seven innings. 

Davenport, however, had a mixed early game on the mound. Despite starting off the first inning by retiring the Cowboys in order, Davenport hit senior designated batter David Jeon with a pitch and allowed singles from junior third baseman Walker Polk and sophomore second baseman Tanner Sever, scoring junior courtesy runner Charlie Barker in the second inning.

“We had to be tough with two strikes because we knew, obviously, that [Davenport] throws hard and the kid can play,” Rodman said. “We put together some tough at bats and just put the ball into play to make them play defense and it seemed to work out for us tonight.” 

Prosper’s defensive play didn’t help Davenport either, with Jeon scoring off an error and Polk scoring off a ground out. After a mixed second inning, Davenport was able to regain control of the Cowboys’ offense, taking the loss with five strikeouts and surrendering three runs on four hits over seven innings. 

“Our boys never give up because they’re tough and there’s no quit in them and on top of that, our boys are very confident,” Howard said. “They know that a two run lead is not going to hold up against us with the way we swing our bats.” 

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