Written by SportsDayDFW.com
Denton set to host inaugural baseball tournament
Denton got its season underway this week by playing its first baseball game with a new head coach in 17 seasons.
Now, it has a new tournament to call its own as well.
In its first season under new head coach Glen Harrison, the Broncos will part ways with the long-running James Taylor Classic traditionally hosted over at Ryan and will, instead, host the six-team Denton Classic starting today at Bronco Field.
“We just wanted to try something different,” Harrison said. “Not necessarily for any reason other than we just wanted to go in a different direction and try to do our own thing. We always enjoyed the James Taylor — we just wanted to try something new.”
It’s shaping up to be a season of firsts for the Broncos (0-1), who opened their regular season on Tuesday in a 7-1 loss to Sherman. It was the first game for Harrison as Denton’s head coach after replacing the long-serving Marty Green, who retired following last season after 17 years on the job.
In its opener, Denton’s young lineup struggled against hard-throwing Sherman pitcher Kyle Crick and was held without a hit in the loss.
“We saw a kid that threw 93-94 miles per hour and we just didn’t do very well,” Harrison said. “For a lot of our kids out there tonight, that was their first taste of varsity competition. Hopefully their eyes were opened a little bit.”
Across town, Ryan will host the James Taylor Classic featuring a number of quality teams including Frisco Wakeland which is ranked No. 7 in Class 4A in the preseason Texas High School Baseball Coaches Association polls.
Ryan softball, meanwhile, will host the Tina Minke Softball Tournament which will field six teams.
James Taylor Classic
Ryan baseball will open its season as the tournament host and will have ample opportunity to build some experience while seniors Adam Choplick and Daniel Martin continue their run with the basketball team.
The Raiders will be matched up in the same pool as Wakeland along with Denison, Corsicana and 2010 TAPPS 5A semifinalist TCA-Addison.
The five games slated for the week are crucial for Ryan, which will kick off District 4-4A play early this year due to TAKS testing with a Mar. 8 game against Lake Dallas.
“We’ve got a pretty young team experience-wise, so it’s important that we get these games in before district starts,” Ryan head coach Bret Warnack said. “It’s coming up on us pretty quick. We need as many of these chances as possible.”
In the other pool, Liberty Christian and Texas-Arlington commit Chad Nack will try to build on last season’s 28-7-1 finish against Haltom City, Frisco Liberty, Irving Nimitz and Trophy Club Byron Nelson.
The tournament will kick off today at 10 a.m. when Nimitz takes on Byron Nelson in the opener. Ryan’s first game will be against Corsicana at 3 p.m. followed directly by a matchup with Wakeland at 5:30 p.m.
Fittingly enough, the field at the Broncos’ inaugural tournament will be littered with teams facing new beginnings of their own.
In addition to hosting Denison, which is also starting its first season under a new coach, Denton will host young programs from newer schools including Leander Vandegrift and Keller Timber Creek. Greenville is also making a trip back to Denton after appearing in the James Taylor Classic last year.
Harrison said the Broncos are mostly unfamiliar with the teams they’ll be facing over the course of the week. Denton hasn’t played Denison since the two teams shared a district back in 2008 and will be playing both Vandegrift and Timber Creek for the first time.
“A lot of these teams are fairly young and still up-and-coming,” Harrison said. “We’re young too, so hopefully we’ll match up with these teams pretty well. Hopefully we’ll get a chance to get some good things out of this.”
The tournament kicks off when Timber Creek faces Denison at 11 a.m. today. Denton will play its first game at 1:30 p.m. against Vandegrift.
Tina Minke Softball Tournament
After earning five wins at its tournament showing in Frisco, the Lady Raiders will return home to host their annual tournament.
The field for the tournament includes Fort Worth Western Hills, which was eliminated in the area round of the 2010 4A playoffs by Wichita Falls Rider, and Fort Worth Castleberry, which made it to the area round of the 3A playoffs before being swept by Argyle. Other teams include 5A opponent Lewisville and budding 4A program Trophy Club Byron Nelson.
Each team is expected to play five games over the course of the three-day tournament.
MARSHALL MOORE can be reached at 940-566-6869. His e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org .