— By GREG WEBB
BROCK — For a second consecutive Class 2A Region II playoff contest, the Brock Eagles found themselves in a close match after at least four innings. And for a second time, Brock put together a big offensive burst, winning Game 1 of the best-of-three series, 9-0.
Despite Titus Gossett’s solo shot over the left field wall in the second frame, and another Brock run in the fourth, the Area game was still far from decided as Brock met the Gunter Tigers at Eagles Field on Friday.
But any lead, of late, is seemingly enough for the Brock defense, especially when Colby Fowler has been on the mound. The rangy right-hander turned in another stellar performance, striking out 11 Tiger hitters and ceding just three hits over six and a third innings.
“With [Colby] on the mound, we have a chance to win any game we play because he’s been so good the past two weeks,” said Brock head coach Chad Massey of the Hill College commit. “He’s been throwing the ball really well.
“On the other end of the spectrum, [as a team] we have to be mentally ready and take care of the little things if we expect to win tomorrow.”
Brock overcame any mental transgressions it may have committed in earlier frames when the bats came alive in the bottom of the fifth.
Hayden James and Jansen Ivie set up the big inning, drawing a pair of leadoff walks. Colbin Mills’ RBI double added a run and the total swelled throughout the balance of the inning with singles from Fowler and Seth Boleman, and a pair of miscues by the Tiger defense.
James and Ivie batted again in the stanza, and both singled.
By the time the dust had cleared, the Eagles had tacked on seven runs, chasing Gunter’s starting pitcher and one of its relievers. Though Brock put runners in place again in the following inning, the scoring was done for the evening.
Gunter’s only scoring threat came in the top of the fifth when the game was still close. But after getting two runners aboard with one out, a groundout and a strikeout quashed the rally attempt.
Massey spelled Fowler in the seventh after one out, letting Boleman close out the Tigers, who ceded the contest and sent some of their JV hitters to the plate.
The offensive prowess was well-distributed up and down the Brock batting order, with 2-hit nights for Ivie, Mills and Boleman.
Jordan Andrae’s sole hit was for extra bases.
Game 2 results, scheduled to start late Saturday afternoon, was unavailable at press time.
When a coin flip is left to determine a one-and-done contest versus a best-of-three series, Massey always opts for multiple games to determine who will advance to the next bracket.
“We like playing as many games as we can,” said the head coach, who has been at Brock for more than a decade. “We feel like we are a very deep team and that we actually have at least a couple of ace pitchers on this team.”
Check the sports section for Saturday results at www.weatherforddemocrat.com.
Softball playoff results ...
Whitewright 4, Brock 3
After regaining the lead in the sixth inning in a Class 2A Region II Quarterfinal match played in Whitewright on Friday, the Brock Lady Eagles could not hold back Whitewright’s seventh-inning rally in the bottom frame, losing the first game of the best-of-three series, 4-3.
The Lady Eagles scored in the first, answered by Whitewright in the bottom half, then scored again and led until the fourth, when the Lady Tigers knotted the score at two each.
Haley Hardison walked to begin the sixth, eventually making the trek around to third when Sierra Bradshaw’s groundout produced an RBI.
Krysten Marr halted Whitewright’s attempt to tie in the bottom half with a strikeout, stranding a runner on second, but two walks and a pair of singles in the bottom of the seventh gave Whitewright the walk-off win.
Game 2 was slated for 5 p.m. on Saturday.
Aledo 5, Denton Guyer 4
The Aledo Ladycats avoided a first-game loss with a 3-run rally in their final at-bat on Friday, playing Denton Guyer’s Lady Wildcats at L.D. Bell High School. Aledo won the match, 5-4.
The Class 4A Region I Quarterfinal saw the Ladycats lose the lead in the fifth when Guyer put three on the board, prompting an Aledo rally in the seventh and helped along by a critical Guyer error.
Megan Mason drew a walk to begin the final frame, and Aledo found itself with two runners on and one out when Kadyn Kirkpatrick’s fly ball to center field was muffed. The Ladycats took advantage of the miscue, scoring a run on Ally Gabbert’s single and tying the score on Haylee Bowden’s single.
On the ensuing throw from the Guyer outfield, Bree Strasbourg also crossed home plate to take the lead.
After Aledo pitcher Lauren Craine struck out the first batter and induced a fly ball out for the second, Guyer tried to come back with two outs, But after a walk and a single, a fielder’s choice on a groundout ended the threat.
Game 2 results were not available at press time.