Analysis – Baseball clinches district title in 1st 6A season, set to face Lakeview Centennial in first round

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Analysis – Baseball clinches district title in 1st 6A season, set to face Lakeview Centennial in first round

Jake Cosner, No. 2, hurls a pitch in a game against Plano East March 22. Cosner, a senior, is one of the starters on the Prosper pitching staff.

Jake Cosner, No. 2, hurls a pitch in a game against Plano East March 22. Cosner, a senior, is one of the starters on the Prosper pitching staff.

Jake Cosner, No. 2, hurls a pitch in a game against Plano East March 22. Cosner, a senior, is one of the starters on the Prosper pitching staff.

Jake Cosner, No. 2, hurls a pitch in a game against Plano East March 22. Cosner, a senior, is one of the starters on the Prosper pitching staff.

Zach Markey, Sports Columnist and Editor

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Varsity baseball has continued their success all the way to their first district title in Class 6A with a final regular-season record of 27-5. Clinching district titles has become a pedestrian thing for Prosper baseball; however, this one has to mean little more for the program. There was no telling how Eagles would exactly fare with step-up in competition, but all doubters were seemingly put to rest this past week.

District 9-6A featured several competitive teams that each could’ve made a run at winning the district title. Perhaps the two toughest opponents were Dallas Jesuit and the Allen Eagles, who Prosper took care of on several occasions. The Prosper Eagles defeated the Allen Eagles 4-2 at home and 8-0 on the road.

The key to Prosper’s success all season has been the starting pitching and depth of the bullpen. Seniors Caleb Putnam and Jake Cosner have been the usual starters and for good reason. Cosner allowed no runs on three hits in 5.2 innings pitched in Prosper’s impressive 8-0 defeat of Allen April 18. Putnam also dominated in the game prior against Allen April 16 by giving up zero runs of his own and striking out nine.

But an excellent starting staff of any team needs to be backed up by a stable bullpen, and the Eagles have that, plus more. Seniors like Jack Werran have been superb in their roles, whether it be with a comfortable lead or clear out bases-loaded jams. Other than a fluke against Plano this past week, the entire pitching unit seems to be locked in heading into the postseason.

The main component that will upgrade the Eagles from playoff participants to contenders will be the offense. The offense has done just enough to carry the team past opponents behind the strong pitching, but there need to be times in the postseason where it can explode in production. There will surely come a time where the pitching staff has an “off” night, and the Eagles have to have their bats on another level to stay afloat.

The first of hopefully many playoff games will come Thursday night, May 2, against Lakeview Centennial (18-11-1). Centennial comes out of Garland ISD and district 10-6A where they finished third in the standings. The Patriots seemed to handle district opponents with ease except for district leader Naaman Forrest, even knocking off second-place Rowlett in one of the final district matchups.

The catch about Thursday’s game is that it will be in a winner-take-all format. The winner of Thursday’s game will advance to the following round, plain and simple. The stakes are much higher, and so are the nerves. The Eagles are no stranger to this scenario, as they faced a young Frisco Reedy team in the first round winner-take-all a couple of years back. Despite being an extra-inning thriller, the team prevailed and went on to advance a few more rounds.

The playoff stage is set, which means the time is now for the squad to play their best in all aspects. If the team can achieve a  state championship, let alone a deep state playoff run, it speaks volumes about how the baseball program transitioned in their first 6A season.