ROCKWALL — Alex Vergara smashed two home runs and finished with four RBIs Saturday in Game 2 of a best-of-three Class 5A playoff series to lift Grapevine over Lake Dallas 6-4, forcing the teams to Game 3.
With the season on the line, Lake Dallas sent senior Cade McCollum to the mound. McCollum threw five innings of shutout baseball to lead the Falcons to a 5-0 win and their first bi-district championship since 2016.
“Today was big-time,” McCollum said. “We came out after a tough second game and just played hard and gave it everything. It felt awesome.”
The victory marked coach Ryan Howard’s first bi-district championship. Howard has spent three seasons at Lake Dallas, which gave him his first chance as a head coach.
“This feels great,” Howard said. “It took every single one of us. It’s just really cool to see guys who have worked hard and practiced all year long to step up in the biggest moments of the year.”
Lake Dallas advances to play the winner between Fort Worth Arlington Heights and Granbury.
McCollum finished with just one strikeout, but the senior worked ahead in counts and coaxed Grapevine into putting the ball in play for his defense to record outs.
With a runner on second base in the third, Grapevine’s Kyler Mooney lined a single into center field. Lake Dallas outfielder Ryan Depperschmidt gunned down the Mustang baserunner at home plate with a one-hop throw.
One inning later, Depperschmidt wowed the fans at Randy Talley Field when he threw a laser that beat Cyrus Campos by three steps to preserve the Falcons’ 2-0 lead.
“Those plays got us some momentum, especially with Cade’s pitching,” Depperschmidt said. “We were just doing our job as the defense, trying to help him out while he’s throwing strikes and doing what he can.”
Anytime Grapevine seemed to grab momentum, the Falcon defense countered with a critical defensive play. In the sixth, Grapevine reached base with three consecutive batters on to a walk, error and single.
Ben Price had other intentions. The Falcon relief pitcher struck out Payton Reynolds before getting Wesley Flatt to hit a chopper to second for an inning-ending double play.
Connor Perry accounted for Lake Dallas’ first three runs. He had two RBI singles and was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded.
In the fifth, Howard turned to pinch hitter Will Hirneise with two outs and the bases loaded. Hirneise delivered with a two-run single to left to give the Falcons the 5-0 lead.
“Playoff baseball is a timely hit and a big defensive play when you need it,” Howard said. “When we had an error, our pitchers were able to turn around and get ground balls to get out of the inning with a double play. We picked each other up, and I’m very proud of the way we did that.”
Ryan Hull had quite the series for Lake Dallas. The shortstop went 3-for-3 with two runs in Game 3 and finished the series 8-for-11 with four RBIs and four runs.
Grapevine 6, Lake Dallas 4
Lake Dallas 003 000 1 -- 4 11 2
Grapevine 000 150 x -- 6 8 1
WP – Cole Stevens; LP – Ben Price; HR – Alex Vergara (2) (Grapevine); 3B – Wesley Flatt (Grapevine); 2B – Robert Antonetti (3) (Grapevine), Ryan Depperschmidt (Lake Dallas), Kyle York (Lake Dallas)
Lake Dallas 5, Grapevine 0
Grapevine 000 000 0 -- 0 7 1
Lake Dallas 101 030 x -- 5 9 2
WP – Cade McCollum; LP – Colton Parsons; 2B – Robert Antonetti (Grapevine)