Earlier than the pandemic shut down its season in 2020, the Southlake Carroll baseball group aimed to choose up its third-straight championship. 

“We had been very excited concerning the alternative to three-peat,” head baseball coach Larry Vucan says. “And with the blokes that we had coming again, we had been 12-2 earlier than the cancellation of the season.” 

Now with the 2020 season gone, Dragon Baseball is making its manner by the 2021 season. Beginning recent, the group has a 15-13 document as of mid-April. Having received six of their final 10 video games, Dragon Baseball is stepping as much as the plate.


When the season began this yr, nobody may overlook the end result of 2020. 

“We thought we’d have solely perhaps two, three weeks off after which we’d be proper again at it,” Larry says. “We by no means thought our total season could be canceled.” 

Larry says the cancellation was arduous for everyone on the group — particularly the seniors. 

“It was unlucky for these guys, these seniors who misplaced their season and didn’t get it again,” Larry says. “And now we’re ranging from scratch with a very totally different group, with actually no one again from that season.” 

Griffin Herring, a junior left-handed pitcher dedicated to Louisiana State College, was additionally upset with final season’s cancellation. 

“I knew the potential of our group, and realizing that was principally going to waste was simply actually powerful,” says Griffin, who’s been on the varsity group since he was a freshman. 

That potential included Brandon Howell (now at Tulane College), who was named a high freshman prospect by the American Athletic Convention. Homer Bush Jr. — the son of Main League Baseball participant Homer Bush Sr. — additionally graduated final yr and went on to play within the prestigious Appalachian League final summer time. 

Now from the ashes of a canceled 2020 season rises the 2021 group, stuffed with recent faces. With just a few starters having varsity expertise, many are studying the Dragon Baseball methods on the job. 

“I believe the largest factor is to bridge the hole between expertise and expectation,” Larry says. “The expectations haven’t modified.” 

After parting with 18 varsity gamers as a result of commencement, the remaining upperclassmen are comparatively new and untested varsity starters. Tyler White, a returning sophomore first baseman, knew 2021 could be totally different. 

“This yr, everybody knew that we weren’t having gamers come again,” Tyler says. “So [it’s] the time for our underclassmen to begin stepping up and main the group how the senior class earlier than us confirmed us to do.” 

One of many group’s eight returning seniors, right-handed pitcher Luke Gornell says having that management is essential. 

“We’ve such a younger group with nearly no returners and actually no children with any varsity expertise,” Luke says. “With such a younger group comes the necessity for management, which I believe is a power of our group having coach Vucan.” 

Whereas the younger gamers could not have probably the most expertise, they’re working arduous to make the group proud. 


“I believe we’ve developed a tradition right here the place the expectations and the requirements are excessive and that’s not gonna change,” Larry says. “The bar is ready fairly excessive.” 

Griffin says he feels assured within the group. 

“I understand how a lot the entire guys need it and the way arduous they’re gonna work for it,” Griffin says. 

Dragon Baseball could also be younger, however the group has particular areas of power. 

“I believe we play quick. We’ve received group pace [and] you may’t coach pace….in order that’s been a assist of ours,” Larry says. “I believe the opposite power exists in our pitching workers. Our pitching could be very sturdy.” 

This yr’s group will get on base and makes probably the most of it. And on the subject of pace, the Dragons have it. To date this season, the group has collectively stolen 140 bases. Junior Tanner Sumer leads the group in stolen bases with 21 and Gunnar Krug and Max Reyes path him with 20 and 19 stolen bases, respectively. 

On the pitching aspect of issues, coach Vucan isn’t the one one who sees the expertise. Tyler says he additionally sees power within the group’s pitching workers. 

“Our pitching workers could be very deep, and we will put collectively a bunch of hits in video games off nice pitching,” Tyler says. 

Dragon Baseball does have a proficient pitching workers. Apart from Griffin — who has a 1.42 earned run common and 55 strikeouts in 34.1 innings pitched — junior pitcher Owen Proksch, a Duke College commit, has struck out 42 gamers in simply 24.1 innings. 

Different pitchers on the group embrace seniors Luke Gornell and Ryan Pehrson (a Wharton County Junior School commit), junior Nathan Rusher and sophomore Tyler White. 

Together with their pitching talents, Griffin says he sees power within the group’s ardour. 

“All people on the group is actually purchased into one another and the method that it’s gonna take to place our yr on the left area wall,” Griffin says. “All of us imagine in one another and know we will do nice issues, and that’s what’s gonna push us.” 

With the postseason looming, Dragon Baseball is at the moment working to complete out the common season sturdy. 

“I believe we’ve outshined expectations in some areas, and are available wanting them in others,” Luke says. “However I believe we now have the potential to go deep into the playoffs this yr.” 

Whether or not or not they three-peat, the Dragons have the boldness and help from their coach. 

“I do really feel the expertise is there, and I believe that when…they shut that hole with expertise, then I believe there’s little doubt with our pedigree and the tradition of this system that I believe that these children can obtain that,” Larry says. “There’s little doubt.” 

Dragon Baseball is bound to go away the whole lot they’ve out on the sector. 

“I believe we’re proper the place we have to be. We’re ready to hopefully take all of the experiences we’ve discovered from the event season and apply them to the necessary video games, which we’re in now,” Larry says. “I really feel very assured that the children are on their option to being profitable.”

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