The Harker Heights Knights were hanging onto the cliff.
Caleb Dean pitched them off of it.
Sporting a 6-7 record and needing some help and a win over Copperas Cove just to get a chance to force a play-in game for the playoffs, the Knights came through.
“It’s awesome. Every single one of us played a huge part in (the late-season push),” Dean said. “And, I think we’ve had great past four or five games, and once that ball gets rolling, it’s hard to stop it.”
They defeated Copperas Cove 9-2, saw Ellison upset Shoemaker and forced a three-way play-in for the third and fourth playoff spots in District 8-5A.
Once there, Dean went to work.
Dean helped the Knights win three straight games to take third place in District 8-5A, pitching 4 1/3 innings and striking out three against Ellison and combining to go 5 for 11 with five runs and four RBIs in the pair of wins Saturday over the Grey Wolves and Eagles.
For that effort, Dean was voted KDHpressbox.com Player of the Week for April 21-27.
“Caleb’s one of our guys we look to. He’s a good shortstop, makes a lot of good plays for us at shortstop,” Heights coach Glenn Cunningham said. “Offensively, he’s struggled at times a little bit, but, for the most part, he’s a player that we rely on pretty heavily. He takes his turn on the mound, done a great job there for us. He’s a good player for us.”
Dean got 697 votes out of 1,914 total votes — only 36 percent of the vote, but more than enough to put him over the top in a tightly contested vote.
Salado junior thrower Ryan Simmons finished second in the voting, gathering 505 votes.
Simmons won both the shot put and the discus at the Region II-2A track and field meet and qualified for state in both events.
“The whole time I was watching it (the voting). ... It’s a good feeling, just an honor to be recognized like that,” Dean said.
Quason Hill finished a close third in the voting with 488 votes. The senior placed third in the high jump, and fifth in the 200 meter run and anchored the Grey Wolves to a win in the 800-meter relay at the Region I-5A track and field meet.
Belton sophomore Bekah Alcozer finished fourth in the voting, but still garnered an impressive 224 votes. The slugger hit a three-run homer to lift the Lady Tigers to a 4-0 win over South Grand Prairie. The same day she placed seventh in the discus in the Region I-5A track and field meet in Lubbock.
Kevin Posival contributed to this report.