Written by SportsDayDFW.com
Cogbill, Falcons top Ryan
CORINTH -- Lake Dallas couldn’t have started its first district game of the season any worse. The way it finished the game left plenty to be desired, too.
It was everything else in between, though, that helped the Falcons pick right up where they left off last season.
Despite committing three errors in the game’s first two innings and then nearly letting Ryan back into the game in the seventh, Lake Dallas locked up a 9-6 over the Raiders in its District 4-4A opener on Tuesday.
“We’ve been preaching it all year because we have a lot of talent at the younger levels -- we want to reload this season,” Lake Dallas head coach John Tompkins said. “We feel like we’re as good on offense as we were last year, we just lost two good left-handed senior pitchers. That was our focus in the offseason, and the kids have worked their butts off. The program has taken a turn for the better -- we’re headed in the right direction.”
Lake Dallas (8-2) entered the season fresh off of a 2010 campaign in which they finished second in their district and advanced to the area round of the playoffs. Still, after losing a total of nine seniors from last year’s team including ace pitchers Jonny Drozd and Matt Decker, the Falcons seemed, at least on paper, to be headed for a rebuilding year.
That certainly seemed to be the case early on, as Ryan (6-5) jumped out to a one-run lead after an early error and a passed ball on the game’s second at-bat allowed pitcher James Marshall to score from third base.
After that, though, both Brandon Cogbill and Lake Dallas settled in.
The Falcons took the lead in the bottom of the second after Marshall walked four batters and hit one to give up two runs. After Hunter Wakefield came on in relief following the last walk, Lake Dallas third baseman Ryan Navarro ripped Wakefield’s first pitch down the first-base line to drive in three runs and give the Falcons a 5-1 lead.
Cogbill, meanwhile, recovered from his slow start and held Ryan scoreless for the rest of his time on the mound. He finished with nine strikeouts while giving up just three hits and walking one.
“I think it was just adrenaline,” Tompkins said of Cogbill’s start. “We have scrappy kids that go out there and get fired up. I think he had a little too much adrenaline early and struggled with his command. To his credit, he settled in.”
Ryan’s pitching staff struggled with its command most of the night, as Lake Dallas extended its lead to 9-1 after putting up two runs each in the bottom of the third and fourth innings. Marshall’s start lasted just 1 2/3 innings after his struggles in the second inning, while Wakefield finished by giving up five hits and four runs in his 4 1/3-inning stint.
“We just didn’t throw enough strikes,” Ryan head coach Bret Warnack said. “We beat ourselves tonight. You give [Lake Dallas] that many free base runners and it’s a tough ballgame to win. That was pretty much the story of it for us tonight.”
Even after struggling for most of the game, though, the Raiders weren’t done.
After being shut out for five straight innings, Ryan’s bats finally came alive in the bottom of the seventh as the Raiders beat up on Lake Dallas reliever Dylan Andrews who, up to that point, had held Ryan to just two hits while striking out five batters.
The Raiders finally got back on the scoreboard after Chris McKeehan hit a two-run single with two outs and again after a Lake Dallas error let two more runs slip through. Adam Choplick, in his first game with the team since returning from basketball, pulled Ryan within three runs on an RBI single on the next at-bat before Tompkins replaced Andrews with Marshall Little. Little struck out Tanner Whitlock in the game’s final at-bat to finally put an end to Ryan’s late run and earn the save.
Lake Dallas was led by Navarro’s three RBIs, while Little and Jackson Owens also drove in two runs apiece. Ryan was led at the plate by Nash Knight, who finished 2-for-4 with a double, and McKeehan, who finished 2-for-4 with two RBIs. Choplick was also 2-for-4 after striking out twice to start the game and drove in one run.
MARSHALL MOORE can be reached at 940-566-6869 His e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org.