MANSFIELD — Anytime you are down 5-0 in the first inning, you know you have a big mountain to climb in order get back in the game — that mountain is even steeper when you are battling the defending state champions.
Such was the case for the Maypearl Panthers, who despite putting together a strong comeback attempt, were unable to defeat the Brock Eagles as they fell to the defending Class 2A champs 9-3 Friday at Mansfield High School, putting an end to another successful season.
Yet even though his team was unable to come out with the victory, head coach Kevin Bartley was still pleased with the determination and poise his young team showed.
“I thought we did a great job,” Bartley said. “We could have laid down in that first inning when we gave up five runs, and we didn’t. They stuck it out, and took it one run at a time. Our guys never quit.”
D.J. Wilhide started off the game on the mound for the Panthers, but lasted only 1/3 of an inning before freshman Matt Antwine took over the duties on the hill.
Jacob Jordan led the game off for the Eagles with a double down the left-field line, and after a wild pitch and a walk, runners were on the corners.
Trace Reynolds grounded into a fielder’s choice, but Wilhide walked the next batter to load the bases.
Bo Bowden brought home a run on an infield single, and after Cooper Hays laced a base hit to left field to bring home two more Eagles, Antwine was called on.
Antwine was finally able to stop the bleeding, but not until two more Eagles crossed the plate to give Brock the early 5-0 lead.
The Panthers started clawing back into the game in the bottom of the first with Riley Hansel leading off the inning with an infield single.
Hansel then stole second and after Albers grounded out to second, Hansel was on third base with two outs.
Brock pitcher Danny Shearson threw a wild pitch allowing Hansel to come home for the Panthers’ lone run of the inning.
Antwine shut down the Eagles in the top half of the second as the Panthers went back to work at the plate.
Charlie Cornwell led off the inning with a double down the right-field line.
Later in the inning, with two outs and runners on the corners, the Panthers executed a double steal to allow Maypearl to cut the deficit to 5-2 going into the third.
Antwine stayed in a groove in the third inning, retiring the side in order to keep the Panthers in the game.
In the bottom of the inning, both Hansel and Antwine reached on singles before Clint Abers brought home a run on a base knock to right field to bring the score to 5-3. That forced the Eagles to make a call to the bullpen, bringing in southpaw Jacob Jordan.
Unfortunately for Maypearl, Jordan had the Panther’s number, posting only zeros on the scoreboard the rest of the night.
The Eagles tacked on a run in the top of the fourth, and after a scoreless fifth inning from both teams, Brock put the nail in the coffin in the top of the sixth when Trace Reynolds blasted an opposite field home run to take an 8-3 lead.
Jordan continued his domination of the Panther lineup in the bottom of the sixth inning, retiring the side in order.
Brock put on another run in the seventh when the Eagles took advantage of some sloppy Panther defense after Maypearl committed two consecutive errors to begin the Brock rally.
Fortunately the Panthers were able to get out of the inning with Brock scoring only one run.
The Panthers were able to start off the bottom of the seventh inning with two solid hits, but it didn’t matter as the damage was too severe too overcome.
Brock 9, Maypearl 3
Brock 500 102 1 — 9 10 1
Maypearl 111 000 0 — 3 7 2
WP — Danny Shearson. LP — DJ Wilhide. 2B — B: Jacob Jordan, Jordan Godby 2; M: Charlie Cornwell. HR — B: Trace Reynolds.
Records — Brock 24-5; Maypearl 18-9-1.