If Highland Park had a hint of complacency after finishing the regular season with 21 straight wins, last weekend offered a chance to refocus.
Despite being a heavy favorite, the Scots had to rally for a narrow bi-district series win over Irving MacArthur to open the Class 6A Region II playoffs.
Next up is Rowlett in the area round, with a best-of-three series that opens at 7:30 p.m. tonight at Scotland Yard. The action shifts to Rowlett on Friday, and will return to HP on Saturday, if necessary, for a decisive third game.
As they have all season, the Scots (27-6) relied on solid pitching and timely hitting to eliminate the Cardinals. HP allowed less than one run per game on average in District 10-6A play, and surrendered just five runs total against MacArthur behind the pitching triumvirate of Grant Howell, William Adair, and Sawyer Lake.
Howell came through for a 2-1 win in the decisive third game against the Cardinals, with Kyle Burnett providing the heroics at the plate.
Rowlett’s pitching also was stingy during a bi-district sweep of Waco Midway for the second straight year. The Eagles, who finished third in District 11-6A during the regular season, won 5-1 and 2-1.
The winner of the series could meet Jesuit in the regional quarterfinals next week (if the Rangers get past Belton). Jesuit eliminated both Rowlett and HP in consecutive weekends in 2015 on its way to a state tournament berth.