The last week of the high school baseball season in the Texas Panhandle wasn’t exactly normal, but in some ways the status quo was preserved.
In a week where play was interrupted by inclement which compacted then expanded schedules, not a lot changed in the standings in terms of play on the field. The playoff seedings have all been determined, even though there are still two district games left to be played Monday thanks to delays.
Here’s a look at what happened in an unusual week which (mostly) concluded Saturday.
Amarillo High clinches district crown by routing Plainview; Caprock reaches postseason
While all the other metro baseball teams scheduled to play at home moved their games because of lightning threats, the Amarillo High Sandies went ahead and clinched a district championship Tuesday afternoon.
In a game at Sandie Field delayed by 45 minutes because of weather conditions, Amarillo High made the most of its situation against Plainview in the penultimate game of the district season. The Sandies jumped out to an early lead over second-place Plainview and coasted to a 10-4 victory which clinched an outright district championship with one game left to go.
Amarillo High (17-10-2, 10-1) took a 9-0 lead after five innings to leave little doubt against the Bulldogs (14-14-1, 8-3). The Sandies have won nine straight district games and now stand astride the rest of the district as the No. 1 playoff seed.
“We feel like district championships still mean something here and on the baseball side of it we have the opportunity to control whether it’s a one-game or three-game series,” AHS coach Randon Johnson said. “A series really helps us out and the guys went out there and made it happen.”
The Sandies broke the game open with four runs in the third inning to take a 7-0 lead. Jake Self’s RBI double and an outfield error which allowed two runs to score were the big blows that inning.
Self, Will Flaming, Jaxsen Hall and Zach Swinney all had two hits apiece for Amarillo High.
Senior left-hander Sawyer Shipman took care of the rest on the mound when it counted. Shipman threw five shutout innings, giving up only two hits and striking out six.
“We talked about pitching and defense all year and I think we’ve gotten really great performances from those guys,” Johnson said. “Sawyer went out there and was all guts on the mound. The offense has been the big thing that’s changing for our team. A one-run game compared to a four or five-run game changes the dynamics a lot.”
The Sandies completed a season sweep of Plainview with a more competitive game Friday, winning 5-4.
But the big series was the two games between Caprock and Palo Duro. Quite simply, Caprock had to win just one game to make the postseason and eliminate Tascosa from taking the fourth and final spot.
That was accomplished rather dramatic fashion Saturday afternoon at Palo Duro. Caprock (5-21-1, 3-9) scored five runs in the top of the eighth to beat the Dons 7-2 and reach the playoffs.
Tascosa (11-17, 3-9) was tied with the Longhorns, but Caprock won the tiebreaker by taking two of three from the Rebels.
The Longhorns used some small ball to get past Palo Duro (14-15, 5-7), which had already clinched the district’s No. 3 playoff seed. Neyo Talamantez and Isayah Hernandez bot had infield hits in the eighth to spark Caprock. It didn’t hurt the Longhorns that two PD outfielders also collided on a fly ball that inning.
Caprock was in a must-win situation after a 2-0 loss to the Dons on Thursday. Palo Duro got the game’s only runs on a pair of sacrifice flies in the first inning.
Randall wraps up perfect district campaign; West Plains makes postseason in first try
A look at the almost final standings reveals that the Canyon ISD schools were the big winners this season.
But only one was perfect, and the Randall Raiders haven’t shown any signs of letting up yet.
Randall capped the regular season with another 10-run mercy rule win, routing Pampa 12-2 on the road in five innings. Not only did the Raiders (28-3, 14-0) clinch a perfect district mark and stretch their winning streak to 24 games, but they eliminated Pampa (11-15, 7-7) from the postseason.
The Harvesters lost their last four regular season games and got into a hole on Thursday with an 11-1 loss to West Plains. That win put the first-year Wolves (18-10, 8-5) into the playoffs as the district’s No. 3 seed.
Pampa was eliminated with the loss after Hereford beat Borger 10-0 on Saturday. That gave Hereford (15-9-2, 8-6) the district’s No. 4 seed.
Bushland routs Dimmitt, Dalhart to close out perfect district season
The Bushland Falcons scored their ninth and 10th straight run-rule wins in district, beating Dimmitt 19-0 win in five innings Tuesday, then crushing Dalhart 25-0 Saturday to close the regular season.
Bushland (22-3, 9-0) flexed some serious muscle at the plate against Dimmitt, hitting five home runs in windy conditions. Stratton Malloy had the biggest blow, as he hit a grand slam and drove in five runs.
Josh Bass was 4-for-4 with a homer and drove in four runs. Breckan Adams, Jaxon Fetsch and Cole Warren also homered for the Falcons.
Cannon Melban picked up the win on the mound, striking out seven.
River Road (14-10, 7-3) scored a pair of lopsided wins to close the regular season and clinch the district’s No. 2 seed.