By Bryan Sutcliffe
Special to the Press
After recording their first mercy-rule win in their 13-2 bidistrict series clincher against Highland Park, the Prosper Eagles got a taste for the convenience of a five-inning game. Prosper enjoyed the quick game so much they recorded another one in their one-game area round playoff matchup against Bryan Adams, winning 15-0.
Since the Eagles didn’t have to bat in the fifth against Highland Park in the game three win, their bats have accumulated 28 runs in their last nine innings. For the second straight game Prosper (17-15) got off to a big start in the first inning with the help of the long ball.
In game three against Highland Park, senior Aaron Maxey led the game off with his first home run of the year, and a Zach Kubala homer a few batters later gave Prosper a 6-0 lead they would never come close to relinquishing. Against the Cougars Friday, Maxey, junior Tyler Webb and senior Brandon Grudzielanek all reached on singles against Bryan Adams (15-17) starter Aubrey Lohrengel to load the bases. Senior cleanup hitter Lance Brooks would live up to the job description, blasting a full count pitch long over the left field wall for a grand slam and a 4-0 lead.
With future TCU pitcher Brandon Gilson on the mound, the result appeared secure before he threw his first pitch. Gilson picked right up where he left off in his complete game win against Highland Park in game two of the bidistrict series. He allowed just one hit in the five inning game — a swinging bunt that resulted in an infield hit. He also walked one, hit a batter and struck out eleven to move to 8-2 on the year.
Gilson is unbeaten in his last seven starts with six wins and a no-decision.
With a big early lead and Gilson locked in on the mound, the only drama in the game was if Prosper would be able to close the game out in run-rule fashion. The Eagles would make it happen with runs in all five innings. Aaron Maxey continued his torrid stretch since moving into the leadoff spot, finishing 3-for-3 with two RBI. Reigning area player of the week Tyler Webb extended his hit streak to nine with a single. He also scored three runs and recorded an RBI walk. Abilene Christian signee Brandon Grudzielanek finished 1-for-3 with two runs scored. Lance Brooks’ grand slam gave him a 1-for-2 game with four RBI. Senior Zach Kubala had a two-hit game with an RBI.
Nearly every player on the roster got into the game. Seniors Jake Kiedinger, Sam Gurksnis, Sam Zarycki and Chase Briscoe would all reach base as pinch hitters in the fifth inning, and all would score. Briscoe’s at bat brought the crowd to its feet, with the senior recording a two-RBI single in his first plate appearance of the season.
The win earned Prosper a Region 2 quarterfinal best-of-three series with their district rivals, the Wakeland Wolverines. Prosper will look for revenge at the most impactful time after Wakeland swept the season series with 14-7 and 5-0 wins.
Game one starts Thursday at 7:30 p.m. at Wakeland High School in Frisco. Game two’s first pitch will come Friday at 7:30 p.m. from Prosper’s Eagles’ Nest. McKinney’s Boyd High School will host game three if necessary. First pitch for the decisive game would come at 3:00 pm. All series games will be broadcast and archived at Sportsgram.net.
Bryan Sutcliffe is the play-by-play voice of Prosper athletics on the Sportsgram Network