Rockwall and McKinney faced off twice this softball season in District 10-4A play, with district champion Rockwall winning both times, 3-1 and 8-2.
Just because district play is over doesn’t mean these two are done battling.
Rockwall and McKinney are slated to square off again in the regional quarterfinals of the 2012 UIL softball state playoffs in a best-of-three series at Allen High School.
Rockwall rides a high into the regional quarterfinal after knocking of Frisco Centennial decisively in the bi-district round. Centennial eliminated the Yellowjackets last year in the regional semifinals, Rockwall’s deepest trip into the playoffs under head coach Shadie Acosta.
Rockwall did not return the veteran experience it had last season but has peaked at the right time, taking a few lumps throughout the regular season to prepare for the challenging grind of the playoffs.
“You’re going to have some rough times in the beginning if you have a young team and you have to build that chemistry,” Acosta said. “I think we decided that we were going to make this work. We’ve had many opportunities this season to touch on those things and how important it is to have that common respect for each other on and off the field and how your work ethic will always pay off.”
Two of the highs in Rockwall’s roller-coaster season were wins over McKinney.
While the second score was lopsided in Rockwall’s favor, McKinney proved it could play with the Yellowjackets in the first matchup, leading 1-0 through the sixth inning before Rockwall mounted a three-run rally.
“They have a great pitcher and a few good players so we know that they’re not going to roll over for us," Acosta said. "They are our district rival and one of the better teams in our district so we’re always excited to face off against them.”
Plano and Plano East destined for playoff duel
Over the past two years, high school football fans have dubbed Allen-Euless Trinity playoff matchups as the biggest must-see games this side of the state championship.
In high school softball, the matchup of that caliber is looming just two rounds away.
Plano and Plano East share a district and placement in the ESPNHS Fab 50, with East coming in highest at No. 11.
Plano East took the season series and in turn claimed the district title over second-place Plano.
Before that matchup can happen, the two Plano schools will have to face their most challenging opponents to date in the regional quarterfinals.
Plano East will face the third-place finisher from its district, Flower Mound, in the regional quarterfinals this weekend.
In an interesting twist, Flower Mound handed Plano East its only two district losses of the season.
Plano faces Hebron, which finished fourth in District 8-5A but knocked off District 7-5A champion Keller and 6-5A runner-up Hurst L.D. Bell in the first two rounds of the playoffs.
Plano went the distance in its three-game area-round series before dispatching Mansfield Legacy, making nothing certain against a hot Hebron squad.