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Scott’s arm, Olivera’s home run lift The Colony in Game 1



LITTLE ELM, TX  – The Colony senior Ryan Scott was well-prepared to channel out any of the jeers that might be directed his way by the raucous crowd that gathered in the stands at Little Elm High School for Game 1 of a Region 2-5A quarterfinal on Thursday night.

Call it more of a psychological plan.

“I just take deep breaths,” Scott said. “I just knew that they were trying to rattle me and get into my head. I’ve been playing this game forever, since I was 9. Stuff like that isn’t new to me.”

What also wasn’t new for Scott was his ability to yet again go the distance on the mound. Scott continued his postseason dominance Thursday, notching 13 strikeouts against just two hits in a complete-game performance to lift the Cougars to a 2-0 victory over Frisco Wakeland.

For Scott, it was his third straight complete game in the playoffs. He’s allowed just one run in 21 innings pitched with 30 strikeouts. On Thursday, it was his ability to locate his change-up for strikes that allowed him to put the clamps on a Wolverine offense that scored 17 runs in a two-game sweep of Creekview in the area round.

And the Cougars had quite the support to cheer them on.

Scott was quick to credit the fan bases for both teams for creating an electric atmosphere in a stadium packed with supporters to cheer on the regular-season district champions from 9-5A (Wakeland) and 10-5A (The Colony).

“It kept us in it and it kept us fired up,” Scott said. “That was a great game, a great atmosphere. That’s what it’s about for us guys in high school. It’s doing it not just for us but our fans and for each other, really. It was electric today. I’ve never been a part of something like that.”

Cougar fans were also quick to applaud any defensive play that prevented a Wolverine batter from reaching base safely.

In the fourth inning, the ball hit off the bat of Conor Linkfield redirected off the body of Scott and to second baseman Jack-Jack Farr, who threw to first base in time for the out. One inning later, all of the Cougar players tipped their caps to right fielder Andrew Lovato after he made a diving catch to rob Nick Miller of at least a single.

“That was incredible, just how (Farr) had my back there,” Scott said. “It really shows the character of our guys, and even the dive in the outfield. It was everybody having everybody’s back. That almost brought a tear to my eye.”

Offensively, the two teams combined for eight hits – six by The Colony (25-7-2). But it was the Cougars’ plate discipline that proved to be the difference.

The Colony drew five walks in the game and the pitching staff for Wakeland (29-10) threw less than 60% of pitches for strikes (59.8%).

Taking pitches for balls drove up the pitch count for Wakeland starter and University of Houston pledge Luke Robertson, who departed after just four innings and 73 pitches. Nathan June came on in relief of Robertson and held The Colony to just one hit in three innings of scoreless ball.

But for the Wolverines, the damage had already been done.

“The kid that they brought in did a good job, too,” said Martin Dean, The Colony head coach. “But we wanted to get their starter out, and our kids did a good job of battling. We had some good at-bats, got some walks. Once his numbers got high, they got him out of there.”

The Colony senior first baseman Cade Irwin, who went 5-for-7 at the plate in the Cougars’ two-game sweep of Woodrow Wilson in the area round, hit a sacrifice fly to left field in the top of the third that scored Madaven Tillery, for a 1-0 lead.

The biggest blow came in the very next inning.

Cougar sophomore Noah Olivera lined a solo home run over the left field wall to lead off the top of the fourth for The Colony and give the Cougars a 2-0 lead.

“I was just going up there trying to make good contact, because it was two strikes,” Olivera said. “I had to change my approach and I just choked up on my bat. Honestly, I was trying to hit the ball hard. I saw the ball and thought that it was a little hit. But, I saw that everyone started to go crazy. I couldn’t find it anymore.