The Palmer Bulldogs are headed to the regional quarterfinal round of the 2015 UIL playoffs after ousting Bowie in the area round on Friday.
The Bulldogs beat Bowie 4-0 in the first game and 3-1 in the second for the clean sweep in the best-of-three series.
Strong pitching helped boost the Bulldogs over Bowie, head coach Rusty Blankenship said.
“Brian Archibald threw the complete, no-hitter in game one,” Blankenship said. “The Brock Figueroa started and threw five innings and Gunner Barnes came into the game to finish it.”
Timely hits also helped the team in its win, he said.
“Marcus Thach hit a three-run, in the park home run that sealed the deal for us,” he said.
Now, the Bulldogs will face the Gunter Tigers in a best-of-three series to begin on Thursday in Prosper.
Palmer will need to play strong offensively, if they want to advance to the regional semifinals, where they fell to the Grandview Zebras last season, he said.
“It’ll be a good game. Gunter is pretty good defensively,” he said. “They have a 6’7” lefty that’s pretty good, along with three or four right-handed pitchers that can throw pretty well, too. So it’ll be like playing ourselves, because they can pitch and play defense. It’s going to be a good series.”
More timely hits will be need to made too, he said.
“We’re starting to hit the ball when it counts, like when we have runners on base. Instead of hitting it when we have nobody out and nobody on base” he said. “That’s a big plus and we’re coming around at the right time.”
The Tigers are also coming into the series hot off of a clean sweep, after Gunter beat Brock in a best-of-three series in the area round (11-3, 6-1).
Palmer is the only baseball team in Ellis County and are hoping to stay that way, Blankenship said.
“We’re just going to play the best we can,” he said. “We know we can pitch and play defense, we just have to hit the ball at the right time. That hay’s in the barn, so it is what it is.”
This is the first time Palmer has played Gunter since the two programs faced off in the 2012 semifinals, where the Bulldogs won.
“The way we’re pitching now, we can go a three-game series pretty easily,” he said.
The Palmer Bulldogs will face off against the Gunter Tigers at 7 p.m. on Friday in Prosper, with game two being at 4 p.m. in Prosper and game three, if needed, to follow at 7 p.m.