Bad defensive inning causes downfall of Cowboys in 4-0 loss to Mansfield

Freshman+designate+hitter+Trey+Bercerra+at-bat+for+the+Cowboys+in+their+4-0+loss+to+Mansfield+on+Thursday%2C+May+8.+Photo+by+Shannon+Wilkenson
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Bad defensive inning causes downfall of Cowboys in 4-0 loss to Mansfield

Freshman designate hitter Trey Bercerra at-bat for the Cowboys in their 4-0 loss to Mansfield on Thursday, May 8. Photo by Shannon Wilkenson

Freshman designate hitter Trey Bercerra at-bat for the Cowboys in their 4-0 loss to Mansfield on Thursday, May 8. Photo by Shannon Wilkenson

Freshman designate hitter Trey Bercerra at-bat for the Cowboys in their 4-0 loss to Mansfield on Thursday, May 8. Photo by Shannon Wilkenson

Freshman designate hitter Trey Bercerra at-bat for the Cowboys in their 4-0 loss to Mansfield on Thursday, May 8. Photo by Shannon Wilkenson

By Alex Nicoll
Staff Writer

Freshman designate hitter Trey Bercerra at-bat for the Cowboys in their 4-0 loss to Mansfield on Thursday, May 8. Photo by Shannon Wilkenson

Freshman designated hitter Trey Bercerra waits for the pitch while batting for the Cowboys in their 4-0 loss to Mansfield on Thursday, May 8. Photo by Shannon Wilkinson.

Advancing to the second round of the Class 5A state playoffs for the first time in recent years, Coppell fell to the Mansfield Tigers 4-0 on Thursday, May 8 in the one-game playoff.

“That is just the way the game of baseball goes,” junior right fielder Daniel Jones said. “It is a game of failure and I truly believe in a three game series we would have won, but that is just how it worked out.”

The first two innings of the game set the scene for a pitching duel with Coppell junior pitcher Jensen Elliott retiring Mansfield batters in order, finishing with two strikeouts across those innings, and Mansfield’s Kyle Laberge surrendering only one hit with two strikeouts as well.

The Tigers took the third inning, and with it the game, after scoring three times for a 3-0 lead. Conner Ellington singled to lead off the inning and stole second on the ensuing at-bat. Matt Needham followed up with a single after an Elliott strikeout to put runners on the corners.

Needham stole second to put both men in scoring position. Aaron Funk singled to right field, scoring one on the play, but a throwing error by Coppell sophomore third baseman Ty Manning caused all runners to score.

“We had a bad defensive inning when they scored three,” coach Kendall Clark said. “If we got a catch and a throw down to second it would have been two outs and nobody on, instead we drop the ball at home, [Ellington] is safe at second and then [Mansfield] gets a base hit. Then the third baseman plants his spike in the dirt and throws it into right-center, but you take those two plays out and then its 2-0 at the very end of the game, which is still manageable.”

In the next inning, Ellington doubled and was batted in by Needham to give the Tigers a 4-0 lead. Elliott was pulled after the fifth inning and finished with four strikeouts, two earned runs, and only one walk.

Senior pitcher Drew Hanson came in to finish out the game, striking out two.

Twice, the Cowboys had bases loaded with one out and failed to score. In the third inning, Jones lined into a double play to end the inning. In the fifth, Coppell failed again to produce a run.

“If you are going to win a game you got to get a hit,” Clark said. “The ball didn’t go through. A couple of balls we hit hard but we got doubled up on the line drive and it killed the inning.”

Mansfield senior pitcher Reid Petty, who was slated to start, was in the line-up after an injury kept him out of the rotation.

Manning finished the game 2-2 with a walk and sophomore second baseman Cole Solomon went 2-3 in the game to be one of Coppell’s bright spots on the night.

With close to 90 percent of the starting line-up returning to the roster next season, Coppell is poised to be serious contenders for next year’s season.

“I told the guys coming back that they have to get better,” Clark said. “This is just round two. If you want to go to state there are seven rounds; this is just two-sevenths of the way there. There are a lot more baseball teams out there to beat and there are teams better than {Mansfield] you’ll have to beat to get there. You have to get better in the off-season and everything you do. You have to come back a complete player.”

More importantly, the Cowboys are using the loss as motivation for a deep run in playoffs in the coming years.

“This is not going to happen next year,” Jones said.

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