High School Baseball roundup: Randall, Canyon and Bushland all advance to third round

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Bushland’s John Bass celebrates after a big hit against Littlefield during a Class 3A Area round contest at Wayland Baptist University on Friday afternoon. [Ben Jenkins/ Press Pass Sports]

 

WOODROW – The theme for the Class 4A area round playoffs for the Canyon Eagles was building the big cushion, and it came in handy for two days.

Canyon had big innings early in game one and late in game two of a best-of-three series against Midland Greenwood at Lubbock Cooper. Both proved important, since Canyon held on Friday after Greenwood put the tying run on base in the bottom of the seventh for a 7-5 victory to complete a series sweep.

The Eagles (20-7) advance to the region quarterfinals next week against either Seminole or Big Spring.

Canyon opened the series with a 12-5 win in game one on Thursday, scoring the first 12 runs and holding on for the win. Game two was much more competitive, as the Eagles and Greenwood (14-17) were locked in a tense pitchers’ duel for five innings until Canyon broke through for six runs in the top of the sixth.

“Any time you can get the big inning in a big playoff game like that we’ll take it,” Canyon coach John Doan said. “Those are few and far between this time of year. We knew we were going to have to grind out game two.”

Offense was at a premium most of the way for both teams. Canyon scored an unearned run in the third to take a 1-0 lead, and the Rangers tied it 1-1 in the bottom of the fourth. Pitchers Ben Black of Canyon and Greenwood’s Rance Purser reluctantly gave up what little offense there was.

But with one out in the sixth, the Eagles took control of the game as six straight batters reached base. Canyon’s Sam Johnson got things started with a ground rule double (one of three hit in the game) and scored when the Rangers misplayed a bunt by Hunter Wilson to make it 2-1.

That wasn’t the costliest gaffe for Greenwood, though. Canyon’s Javin Cash singled to right to drive home a run, but right fielder Dylan Dominguez misplayed the hop and it rolled all the way to the fence, allowing not only two runners on base to score, but resulting in Cash coming all the way home as well for a 5-1 lead.

“I saw (Dominguez) miss the ball and I thought maybe stop at three and slow it down but I saw coach Doan telling me to go,” Cash said. “I just had to kick it in and hope for the best. It’s happened before so I thought (Doan) was going to wave me if there was any type of error. It brought the energy and team morale up for sure.”

It also got Purser off the mound, even though he gave up only three hits in 5 1/3 innings. The Eagles touched reliever Toby Delk for two unearned runs to make it 7-1, leaving themselves plenty of room for error.

Black allowed a run in the sixth and led 7-2 before leaving the game. The left-hander scattered six hits but in three innings left runners stranded in scoring position.

“I was really happy and glad that my defense backed me up,” Black said. “I was able to throw a lot of strikes and stay in the zone. I was just trying to keep my team in it and wait until they scored some runs for me. (Doan) texted me this morning and told me I was pitching and I was ready to go.”

Doan figured he had the right guy on the mound to close the series. He used a championship team on campus as an example for Black and the rest of the team to follow.

“We talked a lot about having a lot of guts and a lot of grit, and watching the video of our girls track team with Abree (Winfrey) catching that girl (on the last leg of the mile relay) to win state was huge,” Doan said. “Ben was matching them strike for strike and he wanted to finish the game like any competitor would, but we’ve got some good guys in the bullpen.”

Blade Beaty relieved Black in the seventh and gave up four singles to the first five hitters, and left the game after the last hit by Nick Urias drove in a run to cut it to 7-4. With one out and runners on first and third, Mason Alley relieved Beaty.

Alley got Zack Rybold to ground into a fielder’s choice for the second out but it drove in a run to cut it to 7-5. After Cade Carell was hit by a pitch, Alley had the tying run on base, but he struck out Jaxon Ramos to end it.

Class 3A

Bushland takes care of Littlefield

PLAINVIEW – For the second time in the playoffs (but only the second time in the last 14 games) didn’t achieve the 10-run mercy rule to dispatch of an opponent Friday afternoon.

But that may have been the best news of all.

After a “traditional” run-rule victory over Littlefield at Wilder Field to open the best of three series, Bushland had to go the distance in the second game. The Falcons proved up to the challenge, as Cannon Melban was dominant on the mound in leading Bushland to a 5-1 victory and a series sweep.

That came after a 10-0 win to open the series which seemed more like the norm for the Falcons (23-2). However, they don’t seem uncomfortable with close games so far in the playoffs, as they opened the postseason with a 4-2 win over Slaton in the bidistrict round.

“I didn’t feel like we swung the bats bad today as much as we had a lot of at-‘em balls,” Bushland coach Joel Love said. “We hang our hat on pitching and defense and Cannon Melban pitched his butt off today. I don’t know that they hit a ball hard off him all day today. We’ve been stressing since about the middle of district that we need to be better on the mound as far as efficiency and I feel the last four or five games we’ve done a really good job of being around the strike zone.”

Melban gave up only three singles and an unearned run in the sixth after Bushland scored the first five runs of the game. He walked only one while striking out five.

Josh Bass drove in the first run of the game with a triple in the top of the first to give Bushland a 1-0 lead. The Falcons then got to Littlefield starter Major McNeese for four runs in the third. Stetson Malloy’s RBI single and a double by Bass brought in the first two runs.

Class 5A

Raiders shut out Canutillo

Facing a win or else situation, the Randall Raiders didn’t blink against Canutillo on Thursday at Roswell, N.M.

After losing a coin flip and having to play a one-game series, Randall simply responded by taking care of business. Duncan Bowles still displayed Randall’s pitching depth, as he threw only 72 pitches in a complete-game performance, as the Raiders shut out Canutillo 8-0 at New Mexico Military Institute to advance to the region quarterfinals.

Randall (25-7) got all the offense it needed when Hagen Shedd tripled to drive home Taylor McDaniel and later scored on Carson Haffner’s sacrifice fly to make it 2-0 in the bottom of the second. Bowles took care of the rest with a remarkably efficient performance.

The Raiders now have 17 straight victories.

Local area round scores

Class 5A

Randall 8, Canutillo 0

Records: Randall 25-7, Canutillo 23-7

Class 4A

Canyon sweeps Midland Greenwood, 2-0

Game 1: Canyon 12, Greenwood 5

Game 2: Canyon 7, Greenwood 5

Records: Canyon 20-7, Greenwood 14-17

Class 3A

Bushland sweeps Littlefield, 2-0

Game 1: Bushland 10, Littlefield 0

Game 2: Bushland 5, Littlefield 1

Records: Bushland 23-2, Littlefield 10-13-1

Class 2A

New Home sweeps Sunray, 2-0

Game 1: New Home 12, Sunray 2

Game 2: New Home 14, Sunray 3

Records: New Home 27-2, Sunray 7-9

 

New Deal sweeps Wellington, 2-0

Game 1: New Deal 8, Wellington 5

Game 2: New Deal 2, Wellington 1

Records: New Deal 21-4, Wellington 11-8

Clarendon def. Ralls, 2-1

Game 1: Clarendon 9, Ralls 2

Game 2: Ralls 12, Clarendon 9

Game 3: Clarendon 14, Ralls 4

Records: Clarendon 19-5, Ralls 19-10.

 

Lockney sweeps Gruver, 2-0

Game 1: Lockney 8, Gruver 6

Game 2: Lockney 16, Gruver 6

Records: Lockney 19-6, Gruver 11-6.

Class 1A

Nazareth sweeps Borden County, 2-0

Game 1: Nazareth 10, Borden County 0

Game 2: Nazareth 13, Borden County 0

Records: Nazareth 16-0, Borden County 13-9

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