COAHOMA — Two things needed to happen for Coahoma to clinch a district title: The Bulldogs had to beat Lamesa — a team which beat CHS the first time around — and Denver City had to be upset by Brownfield.
The Bulldogs came through, defeating Lamesa 18-6, ending the game via run-rule. Then, the Cubs got the best of the Mustangs and Coahoma — a baseball team which didn't win a single game last year — found themselves atop the 4-2A standings.
“I feel great,” said CHS Head Coach Bryan Jacobs following the win over Lamesa. “I'm extremely happy for these kids. They worked hard, they believed in themselves, they didn't allow themselves to get frustrated — I couldn't be happier with a group of kids than I am now.”
And it's a talented group.
Eleven Bulldogs crossed home plate Monday. Ryan Campbell had four RBI in the rout, Kaleb McAdams — who had the night off from the mound — had two runs, three hits and two RBI, including a double. Hayden Adamson scored a run, picked up two hits and had two RBI and Tanner Ruiz plated three runs, recorded two hits and a RBI and a stolen base. Eddie Hagins scored three runs on two hits and had a RBI, Peyton Rodriguez had two hits including a double, T.J. White had a double, Zach Crabtree had a hit, Jordan Harrison scored two runs and had two stolen bases and Braxton Iden and Ryan Reid each plated a run.
Campbell struck out seven and walked two batters in five innings pitched for CHS.
The transition from district doormat to district champion wasn't seamless, but Jacobs said the physical talent was there, the squad just had to develop the mental focus needed to overcome the obstacles the game throws their way.
“I didn't know anything about them,” Jacobs said of his newly inherited team. “You know, being 0-20 last year you sort of start to put together a couple year plan or a few year plan of what we need to implement, well, once I got here I started seeing them take ground balls and swing the bat, that three-year plan became a one-year plan — we need to be competing right now because we have the kids that can do it.”
When Jacobs started to believe in his roster, he knew his next step would be convincing the kids to believe they could pull it off.
“These kids have an unbelievable resiliency,” Jacobs said. “They don't get down on themselves, they don;t get mad at themselves. They did struggle last year, but they were always in games. They have a great attitude about the game of baseball.”
There was a point in the season when things started to click for the Bulldogs. Jacobs said he began to realize he had more than just a team that could put a few wins in the books — he started seeing signs that a potential playoff run or even an improbable district title could be in the cards.
“The thing that showed kids they could play was when we went to the Midland Greenwood Tournament,” Jacobs explained. “They saw some good teams and some teams they had seen in the past that had beaten up on them a little bit and we went over there and we didn't win those games, but we competed and they were in ballgames. I think that made a light go off after that. When district started, I told them if we didn't make the playoffs we weren't living up to our potential. They turned it around after the first half and went 4-0 in the second half of district and put themselves in a spot to be the district champions. I think the kids' expectations of themselves changed throughout the season and you have to have success for that to happen.”
Jacobs' task now is to get a team with no postseason experience in the mindset needed to tackle the playoffs.
“We have to get better,” Jacobs said. “This team that won these last few ballgames, we're going to take a better team than that into the playoffs, we're going to take a more competitive team. I think maintaining our approach at the plate, base runner approach, hitting strikes — all that, not being greedy if we can keep that rolling and improve a bit defensively, I think we can make some noise in the playoffs. These kids compete and they surprised me and I'm not sure they don't surprise themselves sometimes.”
Coahoma will play the winner of the Tulia-Friona series with a tentative date set for the weekend of May 10.