The Glen Rose Tigers closed out their 2019 baseball season last Friday with a heartbreaking 4-3 loss to a salty Decatur squad as the Eagles swept the best-of-three game series.
Game 1 of the series was played in Glen Rose on Thursday night, May 2. Decatur took a 1-0 series lead with a 10-1 victory in that contest.
In Game 2 Friday in Decatur, the Tigers gained a 3-2 lead going into the final inning. But that didn’t hold up as the Eagles won the game and the series with a walkoff two-run single with the bases loaded in the bottom of the seventh inning.
“We played them tough,” Evans said. “The kids battled the whole game.”
As the third-place team coming out of District 7-4A, coach James Evans’ Tigers were paired against the No. 2 team from District 8. The Eagles finished second to defending state champion Argyle and those two teams have a combined record of 51 wins in their 57 games so far as they enter the second (area) round of the playoffs.
Top-ranked Argyle eliminated fourth-place Stephenville, with a sweep of their best-of-three series in Brock, improving to 31-1-1.
Graduation will take away seven seniors from the Glen Rose squad. They are Coby Riley, Cooper Parks, Garrett Gilbreath, Jett Gould, River Costello, Bryan Pounds and Dax Read.
“This group of seniors were special guys,” Evans said. “Our team chemistry was great. We’re going to miss all of them.”
With the team’s top pitcher, junior Davis Shackelford, unable to work on the mound this season because of an elbow injury, other younger players such as juniors Michael Watson and Jadon Harper stepped up to higher levels on the pitching staff to produce a talented playoff squad.
“They needed to step up and they did,” Evans said. “They grew like they needed to. They bought into the program, and they committed to each other and the team. This is a great group of kids — one of the better teams I’ve been a part of.”
Another highlight of the season came in early April when Evans won his 400th game in his 23rd season as a varsity head baseball coach.
In the series finale Friday, Riley and Shackelford had the only runs batted in for the Tigers. Shackelford was 1-for-2 with a double. Jadon Harper, Bryson Klein and Gilbreath had the other hits for Glen Rose.
Harper went the distance on the mound and took the loss. He gave up four runs (two earned) on nine hits with four strikeouts and three walks.
Decatur gained a 1-0 edge in the bottom of the second inning, but Glen Rose grabbed a 2-1 lead in the third. The Tigers added one run in the seventh before the two-run spot by the Eagles in the bottom of the frame clinched the win.
Thursday’s game was scoreless until the fourth, when each team picked up one run. But that proved to be the only tally for Glen Rose, while Decatur added two in the sixth and seven in the seventh. The Tigers were charged with four errors, while the Eagles had none.
Costello had a sacrifice to bring in the Glen Rose run.
Gould was 2-for-3 with a double and a single, while Shackelford was 1-for-2 with a triple.
Three pitchers worked for the Tigers, but starter Michael Watson took the loss. He pitched six innings, allowing six runs (five earned) on eight hits with eight strikeouts and only two walks.
Coby Riley followed, with one-third of an inning and gave up four runs (two earned) on three hits with one strikeout and one walk. Kasen Keese worked two-thirds of an inning and walked one batter.