Coppell to face Dragons’ elite pitching duo in regional semifinals


Anjali K

Coppell junior TJ Pompey pitches against Prosper at Little Elm on May 20. The Cowboys play Southlake Carroll in a best-of-three Class 6A Region I semifinals series, Thursday at 7:30 p.m. for Game 1, Friday at 7:30 p.m, for Game 2 and the potential Game 3 is on Saturday at 12 p.m..; all games are at Dallas Baptist University.

Meer Mahfuz, Staff Writer

The Coppell baseball team played in a thrilling Class 6A Region I semifinals series against Prosper last week and showed that it could not only play with the best, but that it could be triumphant over the best.

However, the Cowboys play one of the state’s toughest teams from a perennial powerhouse program that has been one of the most prolific baseball programs in the state in the fourth round of the Class 6A playoffs later this week.

Coppell (27-7-1) faces its archrivals Southlake Carroll (28-8) in a best-of-three Class 6A Region I semifinals series.

The Cowboys play the Dragons for Game 1 on Thursday at 7:30 p.m.  Game 2 is Friday at 7:30 p.m.. Game 3, if necessary, will be on Saturday at 12 p.m.. All games will be played at Dallas Baptist University.

Not only are the Dragons vs the Cowboys a must-watch series for baseball fans but the series resonates more deeply with each of the two communities. Coppell and Carroll are archrivals and have been for the better part of two decades. 

“The rivalry dates back to ever since when Coppell opened and it’s going to be a helluva lot of fun matching up with them in the playoffs,” Coppell senior right fielder Will Boylan said. 

Carroll’s talent begins on the mound with senior pitchers Griffin Herring, a LSU signee, and Owen Proksch, a Duke signee, one of the best one-two pitching duos across Texas.

Griffin, statistically, has been the best pitcher in the Dallas area this season and was part of the 2018-19 Carroll team that won the Class 6A state championship. Herring had seven wins, an ERA of 0.29 and 74 strikeouts in the regular season. In the playoffs, Herring combined for 39 strikeouts in the first three rounds.

Alongside Herring and Proksch are several Division I players that round out the squad. Junior shortstop Ethan Mendoza is an Arizona State commit, junior second baseman Ben Tryon is a Dallas Baptist commit, junior outfielder Colin Robson is a Duke commit, senior pitcher Nathan Rusher is a Fordham signee, senior right fielder Tyson Drake is a Tarleton State signee and junior pitcher Jared White is an Arkansas commit.

Senior catcher Clark Springs was also a member of the 2018-19 Class 6A State Championship winning side.

For Coppell, only senior pitcher Andrew Nester (.345) is hitting above a .300 average while nine Dragons bat above a .300 with the minimum batting average for Carroll being .273.

“We’re going to go in and give them a tough series,” Nester said. “We want to give them everything they can handle and then some, and hopefully come out with a win.”

The Cowboys’ blue-collar mentality and mistake-free play sees themselves compete in the majority of its games until the very last out, a trait that, according to Coppell coach Ryan Howard, is necessary for teams to have in order to make a deep playoff run. 

“We can not make mistakes because all these teams are going to capitalize on them,” Howard said. “We have to limit our errors and we have to limit our walks because everything is magnified at this level.”

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