It looked as if Adrian Lewis didn’t want to leave the home dugout last Saturday for the last time as a member of the Glen Rose Tigers baseball team.
The graduating senior took his time, sitting in silence after the Tigers were eliminated from the Class 4A playoffs, swept by Kennedale two games to none in their best-of-three bi-district playoff series. Kennedale, the District 7-4A champion, won the series opener on May 3 in Kennedale, 10-3. Then, last Friday in Glen Rose, the 21-4 Wildcats defeated coach James Evans’ Tigers 11-1 to advance to the area playoff round.
Lewis, a two-year varsity letterman, was feeling the loss as the season came to an end, but he had a prediction about where the young Tiger squad is heading.
“This season has been one to remember, for sure,” said Lewis, who also earned two varsity letters in basketball. “Especially since the sophomore class has a good chance of winning a state championship. I feel like they will definitely develop for sure. I expect nothing less from them. They’re hard workers, and they won’t let up.”
In that season finale, Kennedale out-hit the Tigers 13-3, including four extra-base hits. The series opener saw the Wildcats pile up a dozen hits while the Tigers had five hits against three Kennedale pitchers.
“It was a tough series. We would have had to play our best to win the series. We knew that going in,” said Evans, who guided the young Tiger squad back to the playoffs after a one-year absence. I thought our guys gave great effort. We fought hard, just couldn’t get things rolling.”
Evans agreed with Lewis that the talented sophomore class has lots of promise.
“We have a good group of sophomores out there,” Evans said. “I’m looking forward to the next couple of years with those guys.”
Evans is losing leading hitter Tyler Torres, Lewis, Chance Hatfield Connor Hansen and Ryan Sieg.
“We came a long way in the past year,” Evans said of this year’s squad, which finished with a 14-12 record. “I told the guys, we got better each day. That was our goal. I saw a lot of improvement from the guys. I’m proud of our guys. They are a great group of kids.”
Torres said, “It was a fun year. I wouldn’t trade it for anything. This was a special group of guys I played with, and I couldn’t ask for better coaches to play for.”
In Saturday’s elimination game, the Wildcats scored two runs in the first inning and five in the second to a 7-0 lead before the Tigers picked up their lone run in the bottom of the third. Kennedale added one in the sixth and two in the seventh.
Sophomore Davis Shackelford had a double that drove in the run for the Tigers, and Lewis and Coby Riley had singles in that game, in which the Tigers led 1-0 going into the bottom of the first inning.
But the Wildcats then grabbed a 7-1 lead, getting two in the first inning, three in the second and one each in the third and fourth. They upped the margin to 10-0 with three in the bottom of the sixth before the Tigers got their final two runs in the seventh.
Lewis was 2-for-2 with a pair of doubles and one RBI in that game. Shackelford was 2-for-3 with a run-scoring triple. Jadon Harper provided the other hit for Glen Rose.
Ashton Smith led the Tigers in hitting (.416), followed by Shackelford (.375), Lewis (.344) and Torres (.342). Torres holds the school’s career record for hits, with 86 in three varsity seasons.
Shackelford also drove in a team-leading 22 runs batted in, and was the team’s leading pitcher, posting a 7-2 record and an earned run average of 3.02. In seven district games he was 5-1 with a 2.85 ERA. He struck out 97 and walked 43 in 62 2/3 innings pitched this season.
With two more seasons ahead of him, Shackelford already owns school records for strikeouts in a single game (16) and in a career (185).