After one game of its bi-district series against Prosper, things were looking pretty fantastic for Highland Park. Less than 24 hours later, the Scots were eliminated from the postseason and without a head coach.
Fred Oliver announced he would retire after the Eagles notched 2-1 and 13-2 victories over Highland Park (19-15) on Saturday afternoon at Scotland Yard. The first loss, a tight pitching duel between Highland Park’s Ryan Buss and Prosper’s Brandon Gilson, snapped a 10-game winning streak for Highland Park. On Friday night, Matt Wilson pitched a complete-game shutout to help the Scots to a 4-0 victory at Prosper.
“That first game [on Saturday] was just nip and tuck,” Oliver said. “We just couldn’t buy enough hits. Ryan Buss pitched his tail end off. I’m very proud of him. He kept us in the ball game. It seemed like we left it right there. We couldn’t buy a hit in that second game. It just wasn’t our day. That’s the way it is.”
Prosper (17-15) jumped all over the Scots in the rubber match, putting up six runs in the first inning en route to a run-rule victory. The Eagles hit five home runs — all to left field — and surrendered just one hit. Both of Highland Park’s runs were unearned. In fact, the Eagles limited the Scots to just three hits on the afternoon, including a Jon Skidmore homer. Dylan May and Matthew Lillard had the other two hits on Saturday. In Friday’s game, May had a pair of RBI, while Westin Roever had two hits and an RBI. Wilson, an Oklahoma State signee, struck out seven and gave up just one hit.
The season was full of subplots for the Scots. After unexpectedly not having a returning star player back from last year, Highland Park had just two players back — May and Wilson — with any varsity experience. To make matters more difficult, the team was hammered with injuries early in the season. As a result, the Scots started off with a 5-11 record that included a loss in the District 10-4A opener. However, as the team got healthy it got rolling. The Scots closed the regular season with 13 wins in 15 games and nabbed a share of the district title with Forney.
“I told them for all of the adversity we’ve gone through this year, the young men have grown and the coaches have grown,” Oliver said. “I’m so proud of them because of all of that adversity and hanging in there. We battled and battled and ripped off 10 [wins] in-a-row. We had a very good season.”