ARLINGTON, Texas — Early in the season, Central Texas Christian baseball coach David Richardson thought his team was in trouble.
"These guys struggled a lot early in the season," he said. "I didn't think we had a shot to go very far at all."
Fast forward a few weeks and four rounds of playoff baseball, and the Lions entered Clay Gould Ballpark at UT-Arlington one win away from a state title. It was the program's first-ever appearance in the TAPPS State Baseball tournament.
However, in the end, their dreams of a state championship came up a few runs short.
Despite their inexperience on the big stage, the Lions actually jumped out to a hot start, capitalizing on six Midland Classical Academy errors in the first two innings and jumping out to a 5-0 lead.
In their first ever trip to state, @CTCSAthletics jumped out to a hot start before eventually falling short in the #TAPPS title game 13-6.— Jack Allen (@JackAllenKXXV) May 18, 2022
Highlights from @mca__athletics state title win over the Lions (pt. 1): pic.twitter.com/wD5HumnuF4
Braxton Richardson scored the game's first run on an MCA throwing error. Then, pitcher Dylan Dagenhardt drove in Elijah Munson with an RBI single to right field.
But, in the bottom of the third inning, the Knights would regain their footing.
Reagan Layh hit a liner into the right-center field gap, scoring Joplin Swallow. Then, Levi Bayley drove in two more runs with a line drive to left.
In total, MCA would score eight runs in the bottom of the third to take an 8-5 lead.
They would not relinquish it.
CTCS loaded the bases in the top of the fourth inning with no outs, but only managed one run. MCA would match that in the bottom of the inning. The Knights would add one more in the fifth and three in the sixth to take a 13-6 lead.
The Lions could not score in the seventh inning, and MCA made a dog pile by the pitcher's mound to celebrate their state championship.
CTCS finishes the year as the TAPPS Division IV State Runners-Up.
"They really rolled it together and played outstanding baseball all the way till now," Coach Richardson said. "I couldn't be prouder. It definitely shows what's possible and hopefully gives us something to shoot for if we can make it one step further."