Ennis continues playoff advance

Lions will play district rival Corsicana; Maypearl baseball, Italy softball still going

Don Hullett
Daily Light correspondent
Ennis' Aidan Castillo scores in the top of the sixth inning on a go-ahead two-run single by Ryan Diaz against Texarkana Texas High on Saturday afternoon at McKinney Boyd. The Lions beat the Tigers to earn themselves a tasty Class 5A Region II quarterfinal series against district rival Corsicana.

McKINNEY — The Ennis Lions punched their ticket into the next round of the Texas High School Baseball playoffs with a hard fought two games to one series win against the Texarkana Texas High Tigers (9-6-1). The E-town victors are now Area Champions.

The final game that was played at McKinney Boyd High School on Saturday afternoon was blessed with great weather and a large fan turnout by both teams. Ennis had won game No. 1 by a score of 11-8 on Thursday, May 13, and then the Tigers evened the series with an 8-5 win on Friday, May 14, at their home field.

Unlike both earlier games, the Lions (19-13-2) jumped out early by bringing in 2 runs in both the first inning as well as the second inning. The Lions loaded the bases on three straight walks in the top of the first, as the Tigers starting pitcher Cellars could not find the strike zone even with the help of Doppler radar.

Ennis catcher Regas drove in the initial run with a single with no outs. Cellars was doomed from the start and only pitched two-thirds of an inning and left with the bases loaded. Texas High then sent Chaney to the bump and he threw just one pitch and got out of the inning only down 2-0. Texarkana was able to get one run back in the bottom of the first and they went to the top of the second only down 2-1.

The Lions added two more runs in the top of the second with a double and three more walks courtesy of the Tigers. Senior Clayton Jenkins had the big hit of the inning, with a double that drove in two runs. The Lions pitcher was able to get a shutdown inning in the bottom of the second.

Texas High did get the lead-off hitter on by way of a single, but he was erased when he was throw out while attempting to steal second. The game settled into a defensive battle until the bottom of the fourth when the Tigers were able to bunch together two hits, two walks, a pitcher’s balk, and an error to manufacture 4 runs to take a 5-4 lead into the top of the fifth.

The Lions were not to be denied in the top of the fifth even though their first two hitters were retired. Their next batter of the inning was Todd, but he was hit by a pitch and he later came around to score.

The game remained tied 5-5 until Ennis came to bat in the top of the sixth. They sent seven players to the plate and were able to get a walk, three hits, and a fielders choice to score 3 runs and make the score 8-5 going into the seventh inning. Ennis was not able to add any more runs, so the home team of Texas High came to bat in the bottom of the inning – knowing what they had to do to either extend the game into extra frames or win it outright to move on in the playoffs.

The Tigers got a lead off triple that was just missed by first baseman Jenkins by lunging towards the line and coming up an inch short. Ennis knew that run did not mean anything, as the Lions conceded the run when the next batter lined out to second baseman Stanley. The Lions were able to get the next two batters in order, and that set off a wild celebration in front of the Ennis first base dugout.

Leading hitters for Ennis were Regas and Dias who both went 2-4; Leija, Jenkins, Castillo and Stanley who all went 1-4. Nick Novy, who battled hard the entire game, pitched five innings and left with an 8-5 lead and he got the victory. Sanchez came in to pitch for the sixth and seventh innings and picked up the save.

The Lions will now move into the Regional semi-finals against the Corsicana Tigers (25-9) as they defeated Nacogdoches on Saturday afternoon. Game No. 1 Thursday, May 20 in Duncanville at 7 p.m. Game No. 2 will be on Saturday, May 22 at 1 p.m. and Game No. 3 (if needed) right after Game No. 2 is finished also in Duncanville. 

• Class 3A Region II

Game 2: Maypearl 7, Rains 2

NEVADA — Jake Frazier allowed five singles and one earned run in an efficient complete-game outing as the Maypearl Panthers advanced to the 3A Region II quarterfinals with a 7-2 victory over Emory Rains on Friday to polish off a sweep of their area-round series at Nevada Community High School.

The Panthers (19-6-1) plated six runs in the bottom of the sixth inning to snap a 1-all deadlock. Stephen Davey walked in the go-ahead run with the sacks juiced, then a Rains throwing error on a Cole Rager sacrifice attempt cleared the bases and put Rager on third. Rager scored on a passed ball, and Frazier singled home Tanner Terry to close out the big inning.

Frazier threw 90 pitches, 60 for strikes, walking one and hitting a batter, and was aided by three Maypearl double plays turned.

Aaron Jett was 2-for-3 with a walk, a stolen base and an RBI in the leadoff spot, Tomas Castanon was 2-for-4 with a run scored and Rager scored two runs for the Panthers.

The Wildcats drew first blood in the top of the third, but the Panthers evened the score in the bottom of the fifth as Jett drove in Rager from second base.

The Panthers will engage the Gunter Tigers in the Region II quarterfinals in a series at Justin Northwest that starts with Game 1 on Wednesday night at 7:30 p.m. Gunter is currently receiving votes in the THSBCA poll.

Game 2 will be at 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, and if necessary, Game 3 will be at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday.

• Class 2A Region II

Game 2: Valley Mills 7, Italy 0

WHITNEY — The Italy Gladiators were held to three singles as Valley Mills ended their season with a 7-0 win on Friday evening to sweep their Class 2A Region II area series at Whitney High School.

Italy dropped the series opener on Thursday, 5-1.

Valley Mills scored four runs in the bottom of the first inning and kept adding runs in each of the next three stanzas. Meanwhile, the Gladiators advanced only two runners past second base, and made three total outs at third while losing another runner on a pickoff at second.

Gage Wafer, Creighton Hyles and Jalen Glover each had the hits for Italy. Leadoff man Kevin Rasberry walked twice and was hit by a pitch, but was unable to score each time.

Valley Mills (24-6) will take on District 14-2A rival Crawford in the region quarterfinals this weekend.

Softball

• Region quarterfinals

Class 2A Region II

Game 3: Italy 12, Bosqueville 1, (5)

WHITNEY — The Class 2A No. 3-ranked Italy Lady Gladiators put up crooked numbers in all but one of the five innings played as they run-ruled No. 8 Bosqueville, 12-1, in Game 3 to complete a region quarterfinal series victory at Whitney High School on Saturday.

Emily Janek pitched a two-hitter and allowed only one run that was unearned. Janek struck out five and walked one.

A night after the Lady Bulldogs had eked out a walk-off win to stay alive, the Lady Gladiators broke out the sticks and exacted their vengeance. Macey Cooper was 4-for-4 with two doubles and five RBI, and Cadence Hopgood was 3-for-4 with a double and three RBI. Ella Hudson and Janek added two hits each.

Italy (34-2) led 4-0 after one, 7-0 after two and 10-0 after 2 ½ innings of play. Bosqueville averted a shutout with one run in the bottom of the fifth but it wasn’t enough to extend the contest.

On Friday, after Italy had taken a 2-0 edge into the bottom of the sixth, Bosqueville rallied with two runs in that inning and then walked off in the seventh with a 3-2 result in Game 2 to square the series. The loss was only Italy’s second of the season; the Lady Gladiators dropped a close 2-1 game at Venus on March 19.

Hudson was 2-for-3, and Cooper tripled home courtesy runner Courtney Saich and herself scored on a passed ball in the sixth inning to put Italy on top.

The Lady Gladiators will take on No. 10 Petrolia in a Region II best-of-three semifinal series in Weatherford that starts Thursday at 6 p.m. Petrolia previously posted three straight shutouts in one-game series, winning by an aggregate margin of 36-0 while dispatching Collinsville, Lipan and Muenster in succession.

Games 2 and 3, if necessary, will take place starting at 2 p.m. on Saturday.