Byrd using comeback wins to propel into quarters

Byrd using comeback wins to propel into quarters


Byrd using comeback wins to propel into quarters


Byrd baseball players celebrate a run during a series against Central in a second-round win on Saturday.

Byrd baseball players celebrate a run during a series against Central in a second-round win on Saturday.

Byrd coach Greg Williams said he told his team before the playoff brackets were released that they’d have to be “Road Warriors.”

The No. 22 seed Yellow Jackets (22-15) will finally put that theory to the test Friday when they travel to No. 14 Brother Martin in a best-of-three quarterfinals series in Class 5A.

Byrd crossed the Red River and beat Airline in the first round before hosting No. 27 Central, winning two games in comeback fashion to advance to the quarterfinals for the second time in four seasons.

The Yellow Jackets have five comeback wins in the last month, aiding in an 8-2 record in their last 10 games and 13-2 in their last 15 games.

Chance Cole’s grand slam lifted Byrd to a 13-6 win in the clincher Saturday against Central, which came after the home team had already erased a four-run deficit.

“We’re picking up everyone in the dugout, patting each other on the backs, playing for each other and learning how to win,” Cole said of Byrd’s comebacks. “The guy on deck knows that the guy in front of him will get it done, and we just believe in each other.”

Nine-hole hitter Xavier Moore scored the go-ahead runs in both wins against Central, including the winning run in game one in which Byrd needed four runs in the eighth inning.

He’s been key to flipping the lineup over to a productive Cole and Wyatt Broome.

“At the beginning of the season, when we were down three or four runs, you can tell in the dugout that we just shut down,” Moore said. “Now we can be three, four or even five runs down, and it’s just, ‘Alright, we’ll take it one run at a time.’ That’s how we think about it, and that’s how we play the game.”

“Coach (Greg Williams) said we needed to flip the switch. One game we came out and that switch had been flipped. We’re playing with a lot of heart.”

Moore dismissed a couple of dislocated fingers to finish the Central series, and Williams said that type of effort and attitude has permeated through the entire team.

“For him to put himself out there like that, he’ll remember that forever and I know his teammates will,” Williams said.

“Everybody has embraced their role whether the guy is coming off the bench to pinch hit or a guy like (reliever) Casey Broussard is coming in and giving us chances to win.

“We’re playing well together and having fun with each other. Whenever you’re having fun, all of the other things kind of work out.”

Byrd has had fun against Brother Martin already this season, beating the Crusaders 10-0 in an early-season tournament at Jesuit.

But Williams warns against relying on tournament results, and he knows Brother Martin is a large obstacle to the state tournament.

“It’s hard to take stock of a game like that in a tournament,” Williams said. “We played them at their field and did well against them … but they have a lot of big arms, play solid defense and can produce runs. They’re a very well coached team with Mark Wisniewski, a guy who’s been doing it a long time.”


More USA TODAY High School Sports