Tigers slide into regional quarterfinal against Forney

Story by John Morgan, sports editor




These feelings flooded the baseball team on a warm May night in Paris, Texas, after they did something that no Tiger baseball team had done in seven years. After claiming the district championship earlier in the season, they defeated Lucas Lovejoy and The Colony in back-to-back series sweeps to finally advance in the playoffs.

The Tigers rode the arm of junior Walker Davis, who pitched a two-hit shutout in Game 2, and the bat of Chris Sutton to wins against Lucas Lovejoy. Against The Colony, they used an eight-run third inning to chase the starting ace off the mound and ultimately win the game 8-5. Their next challenge will come against Forney with Game 1 to be played tomorrow night at Rockwall Heath at 7 p.m.

“This has meant a lot to us because we’re the first team to pass the first round since 2011,” junior Chris Lyles said. “It was amazing. We broke the curse.”

This playoff run has not only been fascinating but also historic. It has caught the attention of various people around town including alumni who find this occasion rare.

“People who went to Texas High four years ago have applauded us,” senior Cole Christen said. “None of the big three sports have made it out of the first round since they were here, so for us to do that makes this a milestone.”

This season has seen previous developments finally come together for the team. Veteran leadership along with young talent have put the Tigers in the position to make it far in the playoffs.

“It seems like this year, everyone plays as a team,” Christen said. “There are no selfish people. There is no star player. We’re all just scrappy. We all come together to win.”

The team has come together not only when a game is in progress but also in practices and free time. Tradition, such as eyebrow notches, and typical group activities has strengthened their chemistry as a unit.

“We care about each other on and off the field,” Christen said. “We’re always hanging out together and will do anything to see anybody on the team succeed.”

Moving forward, the team looks to keep their eyes on the prize and punch their ticket to the Dell Diamond in Round Rock in June.

“Our expectations are very high,” Lyles said. “We’re the top seed, so we should be able to win. I believe in this team, and I think we can do it.”

The winner of the series will play the winner of Midloathian and Joshua in the regional semifinal. This would be the furthest the Tigers have been in the playoffs since 2009, in which the team was state champions.

“All the [games] from here on out are going to be big games,” Christen said. “Those teams are going to become better and better, so we have to get better and better as well.”

Game 2 is at home on Friday at 7 p.m. If necessary, Game 3 will be played at Rockwall Heath at 3 p.m. on Saturday.