Lake Dallas, the No. 3 seed out of District 8-5A, has continued to surprise the field in the Class 5A playoffs to secure a spot in the regional quarterfinals, and now the Falcons face their toughest test of the season.
The Falcons will face off against Burleson Centennial in a best-of-three series at TCU’s Lupton Stadium in Fort Worth, with Game 1 set for 7:30 p.m. Thursday. Game 2 will be at 4:30 p.m. Friday with Game 3, if necessary, to follow.
“We just continue to focus on us,” Lake Dallas coach Ryan Howard said. “One thing I tell our guys is that we need to compete against the game of baseball. Our pitchers need to hit spots, and our hitters need to battle in their at-bat and hit with two strikes.”
Centennial finished the regular season ranked 12th and enters the series with a 25-10 record. The Spartans swept Fort Worth North Side and Little Elm to open the playoffs and advanced to the region quarterfinals for the third time in school history.
Lake Dallas pulled off an upset last weekend by sweeping Fort Worth Arlington Heights, and the Falcons will look to use their deep pitching staff to continue their postseason run.
Seniors Ryan Depperschmidt and Cade McCollum combined for a three-hit, one-run effort in Game 1 against Arlington Heights. Ben Price followed with a shutout in Game 2.
“Our pitchers have done a really good job of locating their pitches,” Howard said. “We don’t have a lot of [scouting] books on hitters we face. When you don’t know where the holes in players’ swings are or where they struggle, the pressure is on the pitchers to hit their spots. Our guys have done a great job of executing the pitch that needs to be thrown.”
Offensively, Ryan Hull and Connor Perry are the leaders for the Falcons. Hull is batting a team-high .393 with a .459 on-base-percentage and 33 runs scored. Perry, who bats in the No. 4 spot, leads the team with 31 RBIs while posting a .324 average. Kyle York is hitting .323 with two home runs.
The winner will advance to play Lubbock Coronado or Lubbock Monterey.
“We just have to take it one game at a time, as cliché as that sounds,” Howard said. “We need to have the same approach at every single game, which is to come with intensity and the will to win.”