McKINNEY — By the time Highland Park’s bats got into gear on Thursday, it was too late to save the season.
After going hitless for five innings, the Scots staged a mild rally but fell to Prosper 6-3 in a single-game playoff in the Class 5A Region II area round.
While HP was scuffling at the plate, the state-ranked Eagles built a 5-0 lead they never relinquished, eliminating the Scots one round earlier than they did in 2014.
“We had every opportunity to put some runs on the board, but we just couldn’t get it done,” said HP head coach Travis Yoder. “You can’t go four or five runs down against this team.”
Prosper showcased its depth throughout the lineup with four runs in the first two innings. Kyler Grimsley smacked a two-run double off the center-field wall in the first inning, while Taylor Pendley and Braden Webb knocked in runs in the second.
Even without a hit, the Scots (21-13) had scoring chances. They had two runners on base with nobody out in the second and third innings, but couldn’t capitalize. Meanwhile, the deficit grew to 5-0 in the bottom of the fourth inning on a wild pitch.
“The ball didn’t bounce our way at the start. I thought our bats were a little timid,” Yoder said. “We just couldn’t get that hit to get us going.”
A pair of left-handed pitchers — Jamie Janco and Braden Carmichael — shut out HP for five innings before Nathan Smolinski and Benner Page led off the sixth inning with consecutive singles. Michael Clarke drove in the first run for the Scots on a sacrifice fly, and Babe Walker followed with an RBI single to make it 5-2. In fact, HP had the potential tying run on base with two outs but left the bases loaded.
The Eagles (29-4) padded the lead in the bottom of the sixth on a home run by Arkansas signee Easton Murrell that cleared the right-field wall.
The Scots added another run in the seventh with two singles and a sacrifice fly by William Adair, who split the pitching duties with Grant Kipp for HP. Kipp tossed the final 4.1 innings in relief.
Adair, Walker, Clarke, and Kage Forrest are among the seniors who contributed on Thursday and all season for HP. Yoder said the graduating class will be missed.
“You always want to go one round further,” he said. “These seniors gave it everything they had.”