Baseball regional semifinals: Grapevine, Argyle advance; Keller, Boswell, Benbrook fall

The UIL high school baseball regional semifinals continued on Saturday, and some teams from the Fort Worth-area played in elimination games. Here is a roundup of games.

Boswell can’t solve Pearce pitching in Game 3 loss

Fort Worth Boswell and Richardson Pearce split the first two games of their Class 6A Region I semifinal series, with both teams losing at home.

In Game 3, the teams met at a neutral site at Denton Guyer High School and Pearce pitcher Carson Bailey handcuffed the Pioneers and the Mustangs got key hits at key times in an 11-0, six-inning, run-rule win for Pearce on Saturday.

“I can’t say enough about this group,” said Boswell head coach Josh Stone. “We’re now the winningest team in Boswell history with 32 wins on the season and mostly on the backs of our seniors.”

Stone, in his third year as head coach at Boswell, commended his seniors _ Sawyer Farr, Berkeley Roddy, Chase Pockrus, Josiah Wooten and Chase Plowman _ for their leadership in helping bring along a hungry group of juniors that just needed a little guidance.

“They’ve done everything in the world we have asked as a senior group,” added Stone. “They took the juniors under their wings and showed them what the expectations were.”

Pearce (29-17) advances and will face Flower Mound (38-4) in the 6A Region I final next week. Flower Mound downed Keller 10-4 in a Game 3 on Saturday.

Boswell (32-8) started Oklahoma signee Berkeley Roddy who was returning from an oblique injury suffered a few weeks before the end of district play. Roddy pitched around baserunners in each of the first two innings, but put himself into trouble in the top of the third.

Roddy hit the first two batters and walked the third. Tyler Sessions followed with a laced a single to right to drive home two and an error on the play scored a third run and moved Sessions to third.

Sessions came home on a ground out by A.J. Ripley to make it 4-0.

Sessions was a royal pain for Boswell in the series, homering in the first two games and driving in six runs and scoring three times in Game 3.

Sessions and Ripley combined to go 11-for-21 with 13 RBIs and six runs scored in the three games.

“Sessions is a big boy, he’s special,” said Stone. “He can change the game with a swing of the bat and got to us a couple of times. We couldn’t put him on, I’m not a fan of the Barry Bonds move to walk him with the bases loaded, and he got us in two pretty big, pivotal moments.”

Hayden Lockwood relived Roddy to start the fourth, but Pearce loaded the bases with none out. Lockwood retired the next two hitters, but Sessions lined a bases clearing double to left center and scored later on a wild pitch to make it 8-0 Pearce.

The Mustangs made it 11-0 in the sixth inning getting an RBI triple from Sessions, an RBI single from Ripley and an RBI triple from Levi Rozenblum.

Ramon Corona lined a tripled down the line in right and to the wall for Boswell with two out in the sixth, but Bailey struck out pinch hitter Kamdin Myers to end the game. Bailey finished scattering four hits, walking two and fanning seven.

“We haven’t made a run like this since 2007,” said Stone, who played third base on the 2007 team that also reached the regional semifinals which is the furthest a Boswell team has advanced since winning a state title in 1997. “For us to be able to do that after losing in the first round, getting swept by Keller, last year it was a huge step for us and the program.

“I love those kids and I’m proud of what they did this year.”

Benbrook falls in two-game sweep by Liberty-Eylau

Benbrook Bobcats showed dramatic improvement in Game 2 of its Class 4A Region II semifinal series against 12th-ranked Texarkana Liberty-Eylau, but it wasn’t enough as the Bobcats’ season ended in a 3-1 loss Saturday afternoon at Carter Field in Tyler.

Liberty-Eylau (29-8-1), the defending 4A state runner-up, advances to face top-ranked Celina (36-5) which swept No. 5 Texarkana Pleasant Grove by scores of 3-1 and 5-0.

Game 2 was suspended on Friday night due to inclement weather with Liberty-Eylau at bat against Benbrook starter Sebastian Martinez with a runner on first and none out in the first inning. Hudson Stockton took over for Martinez when the game resumed on Saturday and gave up an unearned run in the first, but got out of a bases loaded jam with an inning ending double play.

The Leopards loaded the bases against Stockton again in the second, but the sophomore recorded strikeout to end the inning to keep it 1-0. Stockton settled in and retired the Leopards in order in both the third and fourth innings.

“I cannot say enough about the job Hudson did out there today,” said Benbrook coach Justin Chavez. “Getting out of those jams gave the team and Hudson confidence. He really battled out there and gave us opportunities.”

Benbrook evened the game at 1-1 in the top of the fifth.

Lucas Jackson reached on a one-out error then moved to second on a single to center by Fabian Ortega. Giulianno Martinez followed grounding a single to right to score Jackson.

The Bobcats only other serious threat came an inning earlier, in the top of the fourth. After two outs, a single by Jaeden Powell, sandwiched around a pair of walks to Santiago Cruz and Sebastian Martinez, loaded the bases.

But Liberty-Eylau starter W.T. Jones, a Seminole State College (OK) signee, struck out Kade Cross swinging on a 3-2 pitch ended the threat.

Stockton was rolling along, having retired nine straight batters, until Liberty-Eylau broke the tie in the bottom of the fifth. With two out, Britain Pipes singled to center and scored on a lined double to right by Eli Jarvis. Maddox Moore drove in Jarvis with an infield single to up the Leopards’ lead to 3-1.

Chavez knew his team was better than it showed in Game 1, when the Bobcats committed five errors, hit five batters, walked three and balked in a run. Nine of the 13 runs allowed were unearned in the 13-2 loss.

“We put that first game behind us,” said Chavez. “We liked our chances in Game 2 to force a Game 3. We just came up a bit short.”

The 13 runs surrendered by Benbrook in Game 1 was the most it had allowed all season and just the second time an opponent had reached double digit runs against the Bobcats. Stephenville scored 11 runs against the Bobcats in the regular-season finale.

Benbrook (30-8-1) set a record for most victories in a season. The 2019 team won 29 games en route to the deepest playoff run in program history, reaching the regional finals.

“We are a young team and I told the kids to be proud of what you accomplished this season,” said Chavez, who has only one senior, Powell, on his squad. “We have a lot of talent on this club and we’re already looking forward to next season.”

Grapevine pitching dominates Lubbock-Cooper in sweep

Grapevine pitcher JoJo Kubo tossed a complete game two-hit shutout on Saturday to complete a sweep of Lubbock-Cooper in Game 2 of a Class 5A Region I semifinal series held at Steer Field in Graham.

The win for Grapevine (36-4) sets up a showdown with defending 5A state finalist and District 7-5A rival Argyle (27-7-2) in the Region I final next week. Argyle downed Abilene Wylie 12-0 in five innings on Thursday and 5-4 on Saturday.

Argyle and Grapevine split their games in district play.

Grapevine will be trying to reach the state tournament for the third time and the first time since 2017. The Mustangs won the 5A title in 2016.

Kubo walked four and struck out two and it was the second consecutive shutout against the Pirates. In Game 1 Dasan Hill allowed two hits and three walks while striking out nine in the complete-game, 4-0, win.

The Mustangs scored single runs in the first and fifth innings before adding three insurance runs in the sixth. Payton Tatum, who went 2-for-3, lined a one-out single to center in the first and came around on a double to left by Jarett Boswell.

In the fifth, Brenton Lee led off with a lined single to center and was sacrificed to second and third by Sammy Kelley and Tatum, respectively. Boswell had a one-ball, two-strike count on him at the plate when Lubbock-Cooper starter Jake Qualia uncorked a wild pitch to score Lee to give the Mustangs a 2-0 lead.

Ryan Williams doubled to left to open the fifth for Grapevine and moved to third on a sacrifice by Lale Esquivel. Brady Boozer followed with an RBI single on the infield.

Gianni Corral singled to center pushing Boozer to third and Colin Park, running for Corral, stole second to set up Lee who hammered a single to right to score Boozer and Park to up the lead to 5-0.

Argyle sweeps Wylie to set up showdown with Grapevine

Argyle cruised to a 12-0, five-inning win in Game 1 on Thursday, but the Eagles were tested on Saturday, scoring five runs in the sixth inning to edge Abilene Wylie 5-4 to sweep their Class 5A Region I semifinal series held at Cleburne High School.

Next up for Argyle (28-7-2), a state finalist a year ago, is the Region I final against Grapevine (36-4). Details of the series next week are to be determined.

In Game 2, Wylie (30-8) scored four times in the top of the third on a grand slam home run to right field by Collin Bruning off of Argyle starter John Gailey. But Gailey settled in to pitch six and two-thirds innings allowing six hits and two walks while striking out six.

Jaxon Casselberry and A D’Angelo walked to open the fifth for Argyle and B Rosckes loaded the bases getting hit by a pitch. After a fielder’s choice by B McConnico scored Casselberry, the Eagles got RBI singles by T Irwin and G Emerson.

C Roquemore drove in a run with a sacrifice flay and M Roberts singled to left to make it 5-4 Argyle.

In Game 1, Argyle scored 11 runs in the fourth inning to put the game out of reach with Roquemore providing the big blow. With the bases loaded full of Eagles, Roquemore doubled to center to drive in three and up Argyle’s lead to 5-0.

D’Angelo was impressive on the mound for the Eagles scattering three hits without a walk and striking out seven in five innings.

Roquemore went 2-for-4 with three RBI for the Eagles with G Emerson picking up two hits in three at bats with two runs scored and two RBI. Casselberry was 3-for-4 with an RBI and two runs scored.

Keller drops game three to Flower Mound

After a game one loss to Keller (27-13-1) in a Class 6A regional semifinal series, the Jaguars had their backs against the wall. But Flower Mound responded with two consecutive wins to advance and eliminate Keller.

Keller got on the scoreboard in the first inning with a sacrifice fly from Cole Koeninger. In the second innings, Flower Mound’s offense responded with a three hit, three wal frame that resulted in four runs.

Flower Mound (38-4) continued to grow its lead with one run in the third inning and two runs in the fifth inning. Keller tallied a run in the sixth but it was too little too late.

The Jaguars also added three runs in the sixth inning. Keller needed eight runs to tie and managed to score two. Flower Mound, the 2023 Class 6A state champions, will face Pearce in the region one finals with a trip to the state tournament on the line.