Written by Corbett Smith
Fly ball saves Plano West, prom night, gives Wolves sweep of Allen
Draper’s sacrifice fly gives West two-game sweep over Allen
PLANO — Parents and prom dates can thank Plano West’s Aaron Draper. Dinners and photos can go on as scheduled.
With Game 2 of its Class 5A Region II quarterfinal against Allen pushing into extra innings and a third game looming on the horizon — putting pre-prom festivities at risk — Draper drove in Riley Wayland with a sacrifice fly to center, giving Plano West a 5-4, eight-inning win and a two-game sweep.
Perhaps as important, Draper took himself off the hook.
“I’m definitely not going to be in as much trouble,” said Draper, who was taking Plano West soccer player Sparky Fischer to Saturday night’s event. “Everyone won’t be giving me the evil eye.”
Plano West (23-11-1) advances to play The Woodlands next week.
After establishing a three-run lead in the fifth inning sparked by a two-RBI single by Bennett Oberstein, West allowed Allen (22-12-2) to climb back into the game.
In the top of the sixth with two outs, Allen loaded the bases on two walks and a single. Draper was called in relief and surrendered a bloop single to Ryan Hoogerwerf — which was misplayed in right field to clear the bases and tie the score.
In the top of the seventh, Draper walked in the go-ahead run, loading the bases on two walks and an error.
But Connor Smith, put in the unenviable task of batting behind Plano West star Billy McKinney, forced extra innings by driving in McKinney with a one-out double.
“Simply amazing,” Plano West coach Kevin Clark said. “There’s a ton of pressure to be the guy behind that top hitter. He’s done such a great job.”
Clark said Smith’s play — much like that of Draper or starter Blake Bruce — epitomized his team’s overall effort.
“The beauty of all our kids is their bulldogness,” Clark said. “They aren’t going to give up.”
Follow Corbett Smith on Twitter at @corbettsmithDMN