Douglass Rolls to 9-0 Defeat of Dawson + Advances to Class A State Championship Game
ROUND ROCK -- One thing is certain: a team must score at least one run to deny Douglass. And that has became a chore in and of itself recently.
It was more of the same in Wednesday's Class A state semifinal as sophomore left-hander Grant Holland authored the Indians' fifth consecutive postseason shutout, igniting Douglass to a 9-0 victory over Dawson at Dell Diamond.
Douglass (32-1), which has thrown 19 shutouts on the season, will face Flatonia at 9 a.m. Thursday with the state championship up for grabs.
"It's very special," said Holland, who ran his record to 9-0 on the year. "Not many teams get to have this opportunity."
Holland allowed eight hits, but kept Dawson (18-11) off the scoreboard, striking out nine and walking just one. The Indians stretched their scoreless innings streak to 35 in the process.
"I'm glad I've got him two more years," said Douglass coach Eugene Lafitte of Holland. "He's gone out there and done exactly what I've asked him to do -- letting the defense play behind him, and he's done that and he's done it all year. You just couldn't say much more about the sophomore on the mound."
Douglass struck for two runs in the first, added a run in both the third and fifth and put the game out of reach with a five-run outburst in the sixth inning. The two-spot in the first -- both unearned runs -- snapped Dawson's string of 16 consecutive scoreless innings and provided all the cushion Holland would need.
"I think that's huge in a big game like this, to jump on top early and settle the nerves down a little bit," Lafitte said. "I preached to the kids all week, 'you can't let the situation become bigger than it is. It's just another game.'"
Charged with making the start in Douglass' first-ever state semifinal, Holland took it all in stride.
"I knew it was going to be an experience, coming in as a sophomore and pitching in the state semifinals," said Holland, who tossed his third straight shutout. "I was a little nervous but I was also really excited to have this opportunity."
The performance wasn't without a few bumps in the road, however. Dawson stranded a total of six runners in scoring position throughout the morning.
"He's as cool as a cucumber," Lafitte said of Holland, who threw 72 of his 99 pitches for strikes. "Nothing bothers him; he just gets the ball back and he's ready to go. He believes in himself and he believes in his teammates. That's the sign of a leader right there."
Holland led off the bottom of the first inning by popping up to Dawson shortstop Jared Gray, who dropped the ball, allowing Holland to reach second. After Matthew Wallace's sacrifice bunt moved him to third, Holland scored the game's first run on Kolten Rhoudes' RBI single to left.
Bryce Westbrook then reached on a fielder's choice and Brandon Stanfield and Hunter Lee drew consecutive walks to load the bases for Trenton Carrigan, who was hit by a pitch to give Douglass an early 2-0 lead.
"It gave me a lot of confidence because I knew we were going to put runs on the board," Holland said of the early lead. "The first two runs really just set the tone."
Westbrook scored on a throwing error by Dawson pitcher Brandon Cehand in the third and came through with a sac fly RBI in the fifth to give the Indians a 4-0 lead.
Taylor Schroeder's RBI triple, Wallace's two-run home run to left, Westbrook's delayed steal of home and Stanfield's run-scoring single in the sixth accounted for Douglass' five-run inning.
"The kids have worked so hard, and we feel like we should've been here a couple times before," Lafitte said. "It's a thrill to be here, not only for myself but for these kids."
Douglass 9, Dawson 0
Class A State Semifinal
At Dell Diamond, Round Rock
Dawson 000 000 0 -- 0 8 2
Douglass 201 015 x -- 9 7 1
Pitchers and catchers
- Dawson: Trent Underwood, Brandon Cehand (1), Justin Gray (6) and Mason Burleson.
- Douglass: Grant Holland and Brandon Stanfield.
WP -- Holland (9-0).
LP -- Underwood (9-2).
- Dawson: Jared Gray, Burleson.
- Douglass: Kolten Rhoudes, Taylor Schroeder.
- Douglass: Matthew Wallace (sixth inning, one on).