Written by Corbett Smith
Four Mansfield pitchers combine to shutout Coppell and advance to regionals
Mansfield baseball coach Gary Vaughan wanted a one-game playoff in the area round of the Class 5A playoffs, thinking that his team matched up better in that format against Coppell.
That’s a pretty standard decision for coaches. But few would make that choice with their No. 1 pitcher out for the game.
With ace Reid Petty not on the mound, Mansfield used four pitchers to shut out Coppell, 4-0, and advance to the third round for the first time since 2004.
“Tonight, we called on the rest of our pitching staff, and all they had to do was pitch one or two innings,” Vaughan said. “In a one-gamer, we decided to give [Coppell] different looks — and it paid off for us.”
Mansfield (27-5) broke out for three runs in the third inning, sparked by the bottom of its lineup. Connor Ellington and Matt Needham reached on singles — the first hits allowed by Coppell starter Jensen Elliott. Mansfield’s leadoff hitter, Aaron Funk, followed with a two-run double — scoring on an errant throw from the cutoff man.
Ellington scored again in the fourth and was 2-for-3 with two runs.
“Our lineup has a bunch of speed – top to bottom,” Ellington said. “And we all feel like we can hit. It motivates us to battle down there and get on base for the top of the lineup.”
Coppell (21-11-1) loaded the bases in the bottom of the third against Mansfield starter Kyle Laberge, but he induced a double play to get out of the inning. Tyler Stacy, Caleb Gonzales and Nathan Woods combined to pitch 22/3 innings of scoreless relief for Mansfield.
Mansfield 4 6 0
Coppell 0 7 1
WP – Kyle Laberge LP – Jensen Elliott