After most of the Ryan Raiders had cleared out of the team’s dugout on Tuesday night, head coach Bret Warnack leaned across the low barrier to speak to his senior starting pitcher, Chris McKeehan.
The two spoke for a couple minutes or so as Warnack and McKeehan discussed the second inning of Tuesday night’s contest against Flower Mound at Raider Field.
When the two finished up the talk, Warnack leaned back toward the field and patted McKeehan’s backside on a night where both teams had trouble locating a strike zone that seemed about half its normal size.
In that second inning, the Jaguars scored four runs as Flower Mound cruised to a 7-3 victory over Ryan to remain undefeated in 5-5A play and atop of one of the state’s best districts.
Unlike Flower Mound (24-3, 10-0 district), Ryan is at the opposite end of that spectrum. The Raiders (6-19, 0-10) are still winless in district play and have five games left to pick up their first win.
“You know, it’s just one of those deals,” Warnack said. “He had a rough inning right there and I thought he wasn’t as sharp as he has been, but he pitched and battled pretty well the rest of the night after that.”
In the second inning, McKeehan issued two walks and three singles to enable the Jaguars to open up a commanding lead.
McKeehan, who has signed with Texas Pan-American, pitched 5 2/3 innings against the No. 8 team in the state, according to the Texas High School Baseball Coaches Assocation.
The Raiders’ offense struggled against Flower Mound’s No. 3 pitcher, Sean Wymer. Wymer (5-0) pitched three hitless innings.
For four innings, the Raiders stayed within striking distance without getting a single hit.
In the bottom of the fifth, Ryan’s offense was most potent with its bats on its shoulders. With Flower Mound’s Austin McDaniel pitching in relief, Ryan drew five walks as McDaniel couldn’t find a strike zone that seemed to drift around home plate all night.
When the fifth inning ended, Ryan was still without a hit, but the Raiders were able to score two runs and cut Flower Mound’s lead to 5-2. Ryan broke up the no-hitter in the bottom of the sixth inning.
McKeehan laced a line drive that evaded the sliding Flower Mound center fielder. Mitchell Bridges and Kraig Behrens added a couple more singles in the seventh inning to help the Raiders score another run.
Ryan Burks grounded out to shortstop with the bases loaded to end the game.
McKeehan (2-5) agreed with his head coach and said he wanted the second inning back. The senior said the team seems to be improving as it searches for its first win in district play.
“We definitely don’t want to go 0-15, even if this is one of the best districts in Texas,” McKeehan said. “We definitely need to come out and win at least one or two because we can definitely compete with some of these teams.”
BEN BABY can be reached at 940-566-6869 and via Twitter at @Ben_Baby.
FLOWER MOUND 7, RYAN 3
WP — Sean Wymer (5-0). LP — Chris McKeehan (2-5).