Boylan carriers Cowboys to sweep of Boyd in bi-district

Coppell advancing to face Jesuit in area series

Meer Mahfuz, Staff Writer

The Coppell baseball team celebrated its most successful week ever under Coppell coach Ryan Howard last week and, going into the Class 6A Region I bi-district playoffs against McKinney Boyd, there was a feeling that everything (hitting, pitching and defense) all finally began to gel together ahead of the playoffs.

However, in their series against Boyd, the Cowboys never felt a sense of security and comfort. Coppell defeated Boyd, 3-2, in a gutsy, comeback Game 1 that went to extra innings at Boyd on Friday and returned home to Coppell ISD Baseball/Softball Complex on Saturday to defeat Boyd, 3-2, in a Game 2 where the Broncos never surrendered.

Coppell (23-6-1) plays Dallas Jesuit (23-7) in the Class 6A Region I area playoffs. Game 1 is Thursday at 7:30 p.m. at Coppell ISD Baseball/Softball Complex. Game 2 is Friday at 7:30 p.m. at Jesuit. Game 3, if needed, will be at Kelly Field in Carrollton on Saturday at 4 p.m.

Despite the sweep of Boyd, the Cowboys know that their best games are ahead of them and can use this gutsy series sweep as more experience under their belts going forward.

“When our stuff isn’t the best and we can still win, that means a lot,” Coppell senior third baseman Walker Polk said. “It gives a lot of confidence knowing that the only way we can go from here is up and so we’ll improve and start playing better.”

Coppell senior closer Will Boylan played heroics in both games against Boyd and was the player of the series for Howard.

“I don’t think there’s any doubt about [Boylan],” Howard said. “Three or four situations where if he gave up a base hit, it was gonna be the go-ahead run and the game was gonna be over and he came out on a successful end of every single one of those situations. And Boylan does that, he’s tough. He doesn’t back down and he’s gonna make you beat him. I’m just really, really happy that he’s a Coppell Cowboy.”

Game 2: Polk’s go-ahead solo-homer lifts Cowboys past Boyd

After an intense Game 1 win, the Cowboys knew that they would have to come with more fire on deck to avoid slipping into another deficit and they did just that.

After a scoreless first inning, Boylan hit a sacrifice fly to left field to score junior second baseman Tanner Sever and give Coppell the first run of the game. 

Boyd responded back with a solo-homer from senior right fielder Ethan Westloski in the top of the fourth.

With two outs in the bottom of the fourth, junior first baseman Andrew Schultz tripled and Boylan walked. Then, senior center fielder Carter Fields singled on a hard ground ball to left field to score Schultz and return the Cowboys’ one run lead.

Boyd leveled the score again in the fifth with a single from senior center fielder Jaxon Cota, scoring junior second baseman Asher Bates.

With one out in the sixth, Polk barrelled a fly ball to left field for the solo, go-ahead homer for the Cowboys.

“Walker’s definitely picked up his hitting in the second half of the season and he’s been a pivotal reason for the run we’re on,” Howard said. “You can tell he’s confident swinging the bat. His first two at-bats, he put two great swings on balls which just missed for him barely. His third at-bat, he got a ball up in the zone that he could take advantage of and he did so by hitting the go-ahead home run.”

Junior pitcher TJ Pompey lasted five innings, surrendering eight hits, two runs, walking one and striking out three. Boylan came on in relief, surrendering two hits and striking out four.

“Today wasn’t bad, I had a decent game,” Pompey said. “I was struggling a little bit in the count towards the fifth inning but I knew that I had to find a way to throw those strikes.”

Game 1: Fee, Sever combine to steal game from Boyd in comeback fashion

Coming back from two run deficits is becoming second nature for the Cowboys.

Despite singles from Pompey and senior pitcher Andrew Nester to open the game, the Cowboys faced a tworun deficit off a two-run homer from Westloski (first baseman) in the first inning. 

“We came into our first playoff game on a hot streak after beating Flower Mound Marcus and we came out and played pretty terrible for the most part to be honest,” Coppell senior designated hitter Landry Fee said. “We had a chance in the first inning which we didn’t capitalize on which is something we have to do and we know we have to play better in the future but it’s good to know that we got this first playoff win.”

The contest between Coppell and Boyd would stay that way all the way until the sixth inning.

In the top of the sixth, Pompey was hit by a pitch and, after Nester struck out, Polk singled on a hard ground ball to left field. Fee drove in both runs with a two-RBI double on a line drive to right field to tie the game at 2.

“I was just trying to put everything that happened in the game past me because I haven’t been having the best game before that.” Fee said. “There was nothing to do but to gut up and put the ball in play to make something happen. It was an arm-side curveball and it was low but it hung a little bit and I was able to stay on it and just drove it over the first baseman’s head. When I saw that we scored two and I got on second, that was an amazing feeling to tie the game for the team.”

Boylan came in as reliever for Nester in the sixth inning and threw six strikeouts to force the game into extra innings.

In the top of the eighth, Polk doubled on a line drive to right fielder and Lee singled on a line drive to right field. Sever drove in Polk with an RBI double on a fly ball to left field.

Boylan had two more strikeouts and induced a flyout to end the game.

“Will’s been an instrumental piece to our program the past three years,” Howard said. “He gets put in the worst spots possible in baseball games and still finds ways to come out and be successful. Everybody in our community, everybody on our team and everybody at our school knows the toughness that he competes with and we sure are glad he’s a Cowboy.”

Nester (six) and Boylan (eight) combined for 14 strikeouts with each walking one. Nester surrendered seven hits and allowed two runs in five innings while Boylan held Boyd hitless in relief. 

“I knew we needed to get game one on the road so we could go back to our place a game up in the series and I knew how much it would mean to get this win for the momentum,” Boylan said. ”I wasn’t going down easy. I’ve been in some high stress situations before and this one was big even with the adversity. No matter what, I just had to do my thing.”

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