Danny Wallace is changing the mindset of the Flower Mound
baseball program in his first season at the school.
So far, so good.
The Jaguars (21-3, 7-0 in District 5-5A), riding an 11-game winning streak, are the top-ranked Class 5A area team by the Dallas Morning News.
Flower Mound's recent 8-2 road victory came against its closest district pursuer, Coppell (15-4-2, 5-2). Six of the runs scored by Wallace's team came with two outs.
For his ability to tweak an already good team and make it better, Wallace was selected as Dallas High Yield Coach of the Week presenting by Capital One Bankk.
"Coming to Flower Mound, I knew talent wasn't an issue,'' Wallace said. "The baseball tradition here speaks for itself. But after talking to some coaches in the area that were familiar with this program, we put a plan together on how we could be better. We went to work on it in the fall.''
Wallace learned that Flower Mound had the reputation for big, strong hitters that too often swung for the fences.
"That can work okay against weaker competition,'' Wallace said. "But when you get into the playoffs, you begin to face pitchers that don't give up eight or nine hits in a game. We needed to change our approach.
"We want to stress team, not individual offense. Our goal in every game is to try to win each inning.''
The top of the first against Coppell was a perfect example. Following a solid leadoff single by Austin Mussachio
, Taran Kilian
dropped a sacrifice bunt — perhaps not the approach past Flower Mound teams might have taken.
Flower Mound scored four in the first inning and put the game away with another four-spot in the fourth.
Both big innings were prolonged by a Coppell error.
"Everything that came after the errors came by way of hits,'' said Wallace. "It wasn't like Coppell was throwing the ball all over the lot. We seized the opportunity.''
Designated hitter Jett Meenach
nine-pitch at-bat in the first inning, which ended in a walk, is another example of the patience Jaguars hitters are exhibiting this season. Coppell starting pitcher Austin Gardner was removed after throwing 32 pitches in the first inning.
Before the uprising that led to four runs in the fourth, Flower Mound had two outs with the bases empty.
Said Flower Mound second baseman MacKay Jacobsen
: "The difference this year is we don't give up after two outs.''
Jacobsen drove in four runs, with a two-run single and a two-run home run.
Wallace, a one-time University of Texas walk-on under legendary coach Cliff Gustafson, came to Flower Mound with an impressive resumé. His 20 seasons as a head coach included stops at Hutto (where his team reached the Class 2A state tournament), Connally (Pflugerville) and most recently Georgetown, where he spent 10 seasons.
At Class 5A Georgetown, Wallace's teams won three district titles and reached the regional finals twice.
"Danny is doing a great job at Flower Mound,'' Coppell coach Kendall Clark said. "I remember coming up against him in regional tournaments when I was at Plano West. His teams don't make mistakes. When you make a mistake, they capitalize.''
Wallace grew up in the Dallas area and was named the baseball MVP of his district while playing at Seagoville in 1985.
"When I was growing up in the Metroplex, I didn't know that Flower Mound existed,'' Wallace said. "But it is good to come back to the area. The baseball is very good.''
Danny and his wife Julie have been married 15 years and have four children: Austin, Abigail, Kayla and Garrett.