ELLIS COUNTY — Of the 34 players that make up Head Coach Dan Heefner's Patriot baseball roster, 21 come from the Lone Star State and 13 others come from Colorado, Florida, Illinois and Nevada.
Three of the 21 from Texas carved their names in high school baseball within the borders of Ellis County.
Midlothian High School's Jimmy Fouse, Ovilla Christian School's Jacob Webb and Red Oak Homeschool Association's MD Johnson and Dallas Baptist University will face the University of Virginia at 4 p.m. in the first round of Friday's Texas Christian University-hosted Fort Worth Regional Tournament at Lupton Stadium.
The Cavaliers are ranked 11th nationally this week in the USA Today Coaches poll. TCU is No. 7 in that poll and Dallas Baptist is receiving votes.
DBU is 40-19 overall and 15-6 in the Missouri Valley Conference, as well as on a six-game win streak.The Patriots are also 24-6 at home, 12-13 away and undefeated at 4-0 when playing at a neutral site.
North Richland Hills' Jordan Martinson is the Patriots' wins leader at 9-3 and owns the team lead in strikeouts with 73.
Johnson is 5-2 with a 4.31 ERA and 50 strikeouts in 62.2 innings pitched. Fouse is 5-0 with a 2.93 ERA and 38 punchouts in 40 innings. They have the third-most wins of any pitcher on the DBU rotation and Fouse is one of the only two of 10 pitchers that played in at least one game that is unbeaten.
Webb has not pitched this year.
DBU's staff has held their opponents to a .264 batting average while earning a .304 average of their own. Hannah Jameson leads the Patriots in hits with 85 and has sent eight pitches into home run land. That long ball number almost pales in comparison with Huffman, Texas senior Austin Listi, who has hit 20, and Melissa, Texas senior Camden Duzenack, who has hit 15.
The Patriots last win came via a 10-6 finish against Illinois State University in Springfield, Missouri on Sunday.
The University of Virgina, which is 27-19 away from home all-time in NCAA tournament play (23-15 neutral, 4-4 road), has won seven of its last 10 games by an average margin of five runs. Adam Haseley, the Cavaliers leading hitter, has a .399 batting average and 14 homers under his belt this season.
Pavin Smith, who owns a UVA-record 72 RBI this year and ranks second in career RBI with 173 and was the only other player with double-digit homers, has 12. The Cavaliers have hit 60 home runs, which is second most in the Brian O'Connor era and is tied for fourth most in school history.
UVA leads the Atlantic Coast Conference in batting at .324, which ranks fifth nationally. The Cavaliers also rank seventh in the ACC in ERA (4.04) and sixth in fielding (.974). UVA is ninth nationally in scoring at 7.9 runs per game.
The Fort Worth Regional features three of the nation's winningest teams from the 2010s: No. 1 Virginia (373), No. 7 TCU (356) and No. 22 Dallas Baptist (311).
WHAT'S AT STAKE
The four-team, double-elimination tournament is hosted by Midlothian High School alumnus Zach Humphreys and No. 6 national seed TCU, which battles Central Connecticut State at 5 p.m. Friday.
The first of the losing teams from Friday will meet at 3 p.m. Saturday in an elimination game, while Friday's winners square off at 7 p.m.
The second elimination game is slated for 3 p.m. Sunday and the championship game at 8 p.m. Sunday. If necessary, a second championship game is scheduled for 6 p.m. Monday.
The Friday game will be on ESPNU while the times of the television broadcasts the remainder of the weekend will be announced following the conclusion of play each day.
All games in the tournament will be streamed online via ESPN3, WatchESPN and the ESPN app. The game can also be heard online at the DBY Patriots All-Access site at http://dbupatriots.com/watch/?Live=881&type=Live.
DAILY LIGHT SPORTS NETWORK
Each game story and video content can be found online after the game. The game one and game two content will also be available in the Sunday edition of the Waxahachie Daily Light.
Fans can follow the game live on social media by following the Waxahachie Daily Light (@WaxahachieNews), Daily Light Sports Editor (@MarcusMarionWNI) or #DailyLightSports.
DBU – LHP Jordan Martinson (9-3, 4.48 ERA, 76.1 IP, 32 BB, 73 K)
UVA – RHP Derek Casey (4-2, 3.78 ERA, 64.1 IP, 21 BB, 55 K)
2017 NCAA FORT WORTH REGIONAL SCHEDULE
Friday, June 2
Game 1 — No. 2 Virginia (42-14) vs. No. 3 Dallas Baptist (40-19), 3 p.m. (ESPNU)
Game 2 — No. 1 TCU (42-16) vs. No. 4 Central Connecticut State (36-20), 9 p.m. (ESPN3)
Saturday, June 3
Game 3 —Loser Game 1 vs. Loser Game 2, 2 p.m.
Game 4 — Winner Game 1 vs. Winner Game 2, 7 p.m.
Sunday, June 4
Game 5 — Winner Game 3 vs. Loser Game 4, 3 p.m.
Game 6 — Winner Game 5 vs. Winner Game 4, 8 p.m.
Monday, June 5
Game 7 — Winner Game 6 vs. Loser Game 6 (if necessary), 6 p.m.
Marcus S. Marion, @MarcusMarionWNI