If you like high school baseball, Dallas Baptist University is where you need to be this week, as Horner Ballpark on the DBU campus will play host to a virtual all-you-can-watch buffet of UIL playoff hardball.
Three series will be played from Thursday through Saturday, with the ultimate winner of each packing its bags for the UIL State Tournament next week in Round Rock.
At least two are guaranteed to advance. By the way, DBU’s ballpark packed in 3,242 spectators for an NCAA regional tournament game in 2015.
Here’s five storylines for the Tarrant County teams on the diamond this week:
1. Arlington Martin seeks a sixth state tournament appearance.
The venerable Warriors won the 5A championship in 1993. They’ve been to the state tournament three times since 2012, losing in the semifinals in ’12 and ’13, then losing to Cypress Ranch in the title game in 2015. Martin defeated Southlake Carroll in the region final in 2015.
2. Southlake Carroll seeks its first state appearance since 2008.
Southlake Carroll is in its first year under head coach Larry Vucan, who took over after the retirement of Larry Hughes. The team is riding a seven-game winning streak, having swept its last three series. The Dragons were 4A state champions in 2002 and won a 2A title in 1982.
3. Until proven otherwise, Grapevine is the defending 5A state champ.
The Mustangs are attempting to be the first school in 5A or 6A to repeat as state champions since Fort Bend Elkins did in 2002 and ’03. Perhaps 4,000 fans attended the three Grapevine-Colleyville Heritage games in April. The Mustangs have faced elimination three consecutive weeks.
4. Can Colleyville Heritage end Grapevine’s run?
Colleyville Heritage is seeking its first trip to the state tournament. In order to do so, it will have to get by rival Grapevine. The teams played an exciting three-game series at the end of the regular season to determine the 8-5A championship. Grapevine won that series.
5. Legacy and Wakeland scuttled in recent regional finals.
Mansfield Legacy, seeking its first appearance in a state tournament, was swept in the 2014 regional finals by Hallsville. Frisco Wakeland suffered the same fate to Prosper in 2015. Wakeland lost in the 2010 state semifinals, though.
REGION I FINAL
Arlington Martin (31-7) vs. Southlake Carroll (30-10)
Game 1: 5 p.m. Thursday, Dallas Baptist Univ.
Game 2: 2 p.m. Friday, Dallas Baptist Univ.
Game *3: 11 a.m. Saturday, Dallas Baptist Univ.
REGION I FINAL
Grapevine (30-11) vs. Colleyville Heritage (37-4)
Game 1: 8 p.m. Friday, Dallas Baptist Univ.
Game 2-*3: 2 p.m. Saturday, Dallas Baptist Univ.
REGION II FINAL
Mansfield Legacy (26-10) vs. Frisco Wakeland (36-4)
Game 1: 8 p.m. Thursday, Dallas Baptist Univ.
Game 2: 5 p.m. Friday, Dallas Baptist Univ.
Game *3: 8 p.m. Saturday, Dallas Baptist Univ.