Two teams fresh off undefeated tournament championship runs will clash tonight for what will be the first district win for either squad.

Two teams fresh off undefeated tournament championship runs will clash tonight for what will be the first district win for either squad.


Denison won four games last week to win its own Ty Comstock Classic last week and Sherman took five wins en route to the Crowley ISD Tournament title as both hope to convert momentum into their first District 13-4A win when they play each other at 7:30 p.m. tonight at Veterans Field.


With 13 games remaining in league play, Denison head coach Chad Bollinger said the fate of the Yellow Jackets’ two-year postseason drought doesn’t rest on the game, but a win would help.


"We’re in a big district with a lot of games left," Bollinger said. "I’ve seen some teams win the first [district] game and act like they won the World Series, then they didn’t even make the playoffs.


"We want to be hitting our peak by the time the playoffs hit. Hopefully by that time we’ll be clicking on all cylinders."


Denison (7-10, 0-1) brought home the Comstock trophy Saturday with a 13-0 win in three innings in the title game against Little Elm and outscored tournament opponents 33-2 in four games.


Last season the Yellow Jackets finished last in the district standings, but only four games away from clinching a playoff spot, while McKinney North, Wylie East, Lovejoy and Royse City, which beat Sherman in a fourth-place tie-breaker, advanced to the playoffs.


With the win in the championship game Saturday, Denison exceeded its win total from a season ago.


"We’re nowhere near the team we were last year," Bollinger said. "My job and the other coaches’ jobs is building a winning tradition and we feel like we’re headed down that path."


Sherman (11-8, 0-1) captured the Crowley bracket title by going 5-0, taking an 11-2 win against host Crowley in the championship game Saturday. The Cats outscored tournament opponents 48-17, highlighted by senior Case Rolen’s two-home run game, including a grand slam and six RBI, in Friday’s 17-1 win against North Crowley.


Bearcats head coach Jason Wright said having good tournament play from Rolen and senior catcher Will Olson improved team morale.


"He and Will Olson are the backbone for this team," Wright said. "We were all glad to see both of them step up after kind of slow starts. When they’re both hitting well, we’re a dangerous team."


Sherman dropped its district opener last Wednesday in a 4-2 loss to McKinney North, but has won six of its last seven contests entering tonight.


Five different Bearcats started on the mound during the tournament and pitched at least four innings, racking up a total of 23 strikeouts in 27 innings.


Austin Garcia struck out seven in a 9-6 win against Everman, followed by Tyson Jones’s six strikeouts in a 5-3 win against Big spring and six more by David Bedgood against North Crowley. Cody Parks struck out one in a 6-5 win against Arlington Seguin and Josh Logston got three in the complete-game win against Crowley.


Wright said the Cats will rely on their pitchers to avoid a second district loss.


"Nobody wants to get off to an 0-2 start," Wright said. "Our pitching has been so good and we kind of think that’s where it all starts. If they can’t score, they can’t win."


The Yellow Jackets also lost their league opener last Wednesday at Wylie East, 4-2, before ripping through tournament opponents. Denison cut its per-game average from five errors heading into last week’s tournament to 3.76 errors entering tonight’s game.


"The key to baseball is don’t make mistakes," Bollinger said. "We’ve done a good job of eliminating those errors and it just comes with practice and more experience in the field."


Trimming those errors has allowed Denison to take advantage of some good pitching. Freshman Braeden Wright is 1-2 with a 1.52 earned run average in 23 innings, while senior Will Menta is 2-2 with a 3.41 ERA in 26.2 innings. Overall the Denison pitching staff has a 2.53 ERA with 81 strikeouts in 41 innings.


Junior shortstop Luke Thomas leads Denison at the plate with a .431 batting average, while Menta is batting .380 and senior outfielder Clay Stubblefield is hitting .345. All three are tied for the most RBI on the team with 14 each.


Denison junior Devon Blanton (.368) and sophomore Will Stubblefield (.311) also both average better than .300 at the dish, something none of the Yellow Jackets did last year.