A year after the season was drastically cut, which followed three straight shorter than the hope of the playoffs, Aledo baseball – the No. 7 ranked team in our 5A area power ranking – is on a trail.
It took a while for Aledo to get things going this year. It started 2-3 with its three losses that went to some of the best teams across the state in the Mansfield Legacy, Fort Worth Nolan Catholic and Dallas Jesuit. But after averaging through the early part of the season to a 7-5-2 record, Aledo has essentially turned the switch in going 10-2 since mid-March.
During the race, Aledo has risen to the top of District 5-5A and is on top with a district title with a victory Friday night at home against Wichita Falls Rider, which it beat Tuesday 5-2.
In that game, Tristan Thurman threw a solid six innings, limiting Rider to just three hits and two earned runs while hitting six.
Three games remain on the schedule for Aledo, but a victory Friday night over Rider would take the direct district title for the first time since 2013. Tuesday’s game gave Aledo a lead in one district over Rider and another victory would sweep the season series over Rider, give Aledo a two-game cushion for the last two matches and give Aledo the most important tie-breaker in case Aledo drops the last two and Rider wins out.
Winning the district is not the only goal. Aledo has higher ambitions – a state tournament race – despite a bit of a rough update in recent playoff races.
In 2019, Aledo finished second in the district rankings, but was knocked out in two games by the playoffs by Lubbock Monterey, who, as the third seed from District 3-5A, made it all the way to the regional finals.
In 2018, Aledo entered the second round, but fell to a strong Colleyville Heritage team.
Since the Alto tournament went back in 2014 and 2015 – and won it all in 2014 – Aledo has only reached the third round once.
Still, with the way Aledo plays in the last 12 games and rolls through the district opponents, there is a good chance that Aledo will set up for a deep race.
What carries Aledo in this 12-game stretch has been strong pitching combined with a strong offense. In the first 14 matches this year, Aledo gave up 4.2 runs a match and scored only 4.6 with the offense closed out twice and the pitch staff had only two own closures.
In the last 12 games, the offense has been red-hot, scoring an average of 7.2 runs a game without closures, and the pitching staff holding teams to 2.3 runs per – an almost 2-run drop with three shutouts in honor.
To continue this 14- and 12-game split, the Aledo offense scored only in double numbers once in the first 14, while it had exceeded the double-digit mark three times in the last 12.
The talent is there for Aledo. The last 12 matches show that it can be one of the best teams in the area and possibly the state. Getting the victory on Friday night would remove the first obstacle and put Aledo on the road.
Which team Aledo would possibly face in the first round of the playoffs is still wide open. Currently, there is a three-team race between Northwest, Lake Dallas and Colleyville Heritage in 6-5A for the last two playoff spots.
But first and foremost, Aledo’s focus will be Friday night and clarify the district crown 5-5A.