By Bryan Sutcliffe
Special to the Press
Shut out on the road in each of their previous two games, the Prosper Eagles returned home Friday for a game against The Colony Cougars. The Eagles and Cougars entered the game tied with Frisco for the fourth and final playoff spot in district 9-4A. The Cougars beat the Eagles 4-1 on March 19 in the first game between the teams, so with four league games remaining Prosper’s playoff hopes faced serious peril in the event of a Cougar win Friday. The long-dormant Eagle bats wouldn’t allow such danger, rousing from slumber just in the nick of time in a 12-4 pounding of The Colony (14-12-1 overall, 4-7 district 9-4A)
The Eagles (12-12 overall, 5-6 9-4A) recorded season highs in runs (12) and hits (13). They jumped on Cougar starter Sergio Castillo in the bottom of the first after starting pitcher Brandon Gilson retired the first three Cougars in order. Senior catcher Aaron Maxey struck out but reached base on an error after catcher Christian Smith attempted to throw to first on a dropped ball third strike. The ball was then misplayed in the outfield, allowing Maxey to advance to third. Junior Tyler Webb then delivered the first of his three hits to score courtesy runner Blaine Moore and give Prosper a 1-0 lead.
A Steele Walker sacrifice fly gave Prosper a 2-0 lead that they carried into the bottom of the third. With two outs Tyler Webb stood at second after a double. He then came home on a two-bagger by Lance Brooks that snapped a three game hitless streak. The Brooks hit started a parade of five two-out base hits, four of which brought home runs. After a double by junior Dean Smith and singles by Steele Walker, Money Hunter and Zach Kubala, Prosper blew the game open at 6-0.
Senior Brandon Gilson ran into trouble just once in the game. The first four batters of the Cougar fourth reached on a single, an error and two walks. The Cougars’ first run came home on a bases loaded walk by Nick Muus. Hunter Wilson then made it a 6-2 game on a sacrifice fly. Gilson then settled down, striking out the final two hitters of the inning to limit the damage and lead 6-2.
The Eagles got those two runs back and then some in the bottom of the fourth. Dean Smith extended his RBI total in the game to three with a single to score Tyler Webb and senior Brandon Grudzielanek and make the score 8-2. Steele Walker continued his terrific night with a triple to score Smith and give the Eagles their largest lead of the game at 9-2.
Brandon Gilson would help his own cause in the Eagle fifth with an RBI to score Zach Kubala, who doubled and advanced to third on another Cougar error to lead off the inning. The run was Prosper’s tenth and marked the first time this season the Eagles hit double digits in runs in a game.
Some of the biggest smiles in the game would appear on the faces of Prosper’s bench players in the bottom of the sixth. Leading 10-4, Eagle coach Rick Carpenter, celebrating his birthday, sent pinch hitter Trey Miller to the plate. Miller struck out but reached first on the dropped third strike. Senior Alex Nelon then stepped in as a pinch hitter looking for his first hit of the year. He needed only one pitch to get it, crushing a long home run over the "Green Monster" left field wall to give the Eagles their final margin of 12-4.
Brandon Gilson won his third straight start to move to 5-2 on the year. He allowed three earned runs in six innings on four hits and two walks while striking out seven. Offensively eight of the starting nine recorded at least one hit. Four logged multiple hits with Tyler Webb’s three leading the way. Webb also led the team with three runs scored. Dean Smith and Steele Walker each finished two for two with three RBI.
With the win Prosper remains in a tie with the surging Frisco Raccoons for the last playoff spot in the district. Prosper and Frisco will play on the final day of the season, but first Prosper will play at Little Elm on Tuesday then welcome the Liberty Redhawks to Prosper for senior night on Friday. All games will be broadcast and archived at Sportsgram.net.
Bryan Sutcliffe is the play-by-play voice of Prosper athletics for the Sportsgram Network