By Mike Albanese, TSB Staff
Backed by a strong performance on the mound, Frozen Ropes-Prock won its opening game of the Mickey Mantle World Series Wednesday, defeating the Arizona Dodgers 5-1 at Al Alford Field.
McKinney-native Tristen Groff plowed through six innings in temperatures that reached 100 degrees, allowing just three hits and striking out two batters.
Frozen Ropes coach Ryan Prock said nerves may have been an issue early on for the local entry in the AABC U16 championships, but after working his way out of jams in the first and second innings and only surrendering one run, Prock said Groff settled into a grove and breezed through the remaining innings.
Once Groff settled in on the mound, the offense came alive.
By defeating Arizona Wednesday, the Frozen Ropes earned a bye Thursday and will return to face the winner of Thursday’s matchup between the Ontario Blue Jays and the San Gabriel Valley Arsenal out of West Covina, Calif., on Friday at 7:30 p.m.
The McKinney team earned its bye. Trailing 1-0 entering the bottom of the third inning, Ethan Phillips drew a leadoff walk, which set the table for the rest of the lineup.
The leadoff walk was followed up by two bunts, one for a single then another to move the runners to second and third, setting up an RBI single by shortstop Tyler Etling to knot the score at 1-1.
Two batters later Groff drove home another run with an RBI flyout, which was followed by a two-run double to right field by Jacob Padilla to give the Frozen Ropes a 4-1 lead.
Prock said his team’s approach heading into the third didn’t change, but its ability to get the leadoff man on led to aggressiveness on the bases and execution at the plate with a pair of bunts and timely hitting.
Frozen Ropes would tack on another in the fourth following an error by the Arizona shortstop, sealing the 5-1 victory.
He added that while his team may not be the biggest or fastest team in tournament, he described his squad as “scrappy,” and a group that will execute and take advantage of mistakes if given to them.
Prock, who noted baseball is cyclical game and teams can get hot and cold quickly, said his team will return to the facility Thursday and continue to work on hitting and ways they can improve their game.
Photos by TSB’s Sawyer Erickson. For a full gallery, please see the Image Gallery below.