MELISSA — The game plan started before the series began and it continued through the opener as Cooper Lyons and Jackson Lipscomb formulated how they wanted to attack the Farmersville lineup.
Coby Langford provided something of a road map in Game 1, Lyons continued Pottsboro’s strong effort on the mound by scattering five hits and Hunter Watson had the deciding blow — a two-run triple in the fifth inning — as the Cardinals defeated Farmersville, 3-1, to sweep a Class 3A Region II bi-district series on Friday night.
“We’re always talking about what we’re going to do,” Lyons said. “What we’re going to throw, how different batters deal with things. We do a great job of communicating. We have a three-man rotation that’s looking really good and it’s something that works for us.”
Pottsboro (19-5) will face either Eustace or Kemp in the area round this week.
“We’ve talked about it all year. You get to this point and it’s all about the pitching and defense,” Pottsboro head coach Bart Williams said. “That’s where you win things. We didn’t have an error in the series. We know how to pitch and play defense. They work so hard on it every day.”
Farmersville (11-15) jumped right to the lead when Levi Dale led off the bottom of the first with a double down the left-field line, stole third with one out and scored on Randy Johnson’s two-out single to left. But Lyons settled in, finishing with five strikeouts and no walks. He retired the final nine batters he faced.
“Cooper did a great job,” Williams said. “He doesn’t lose his composure. He’s been resilient all year long. He throws strikes and lets his defense work for him.”
Farmersville had a leadoff single in the third but a force at second kept the Farmers out of scoring position after Lyons got the next two batters. A two-out single in the fourth didn’t lead to anything either.
The Cardinals not only got on the scoreboard, they took the lead in the span of four batters and Pottsboro did it with a two-out rally in the fifth inning with the bottom of the lineup kicking it off. Braxton Hacker got the two quick outs before Jasek Hooker tripled to right and Lyons hit a dribbler near the third-base line.
Marshall Warner tried to make a play and get Lyons at first instead of letting it roll foul and his throw pulled Clay Hibbitts off the bag to tie the game.
Will Cates reached on an infield single in the hole at shortstop before Watson ripped a two-run triple off the right field wall, getting to third after he slid around the tag for a 3-1 advantage.
Hacker intentionally walked Hayden Kent and Langford to load the bases before holding the Farmers’ deficit at two when Lipscomb popped out to second.
Farmersville had a chance to cut the margin in half in the bottom of the fifth. Ian Campbell led off with a single to right and was sacrificed to second. Dale grounded out to short and Watson got Campbell trying to advance at third.
Hacker then grounded back to Lyons to end the inning.
The Cardinals missed a chance to add some insurance in the seventh. Lyons opened with a single to left-center when neither outfielder took charge. With one out courtesy runner Jacob Jeffers stole second. Watson was intentionally walked and the bases were loaded when there was an error trying for the force at second on a grounder to short.
But Langford hit into a double play to give Farmersville a better shot at a comeback in its final at bat.
Early on the Cardinals couldn’t piece together a run. Pottsboro got a pair of one-out walks in the fourth from Watson and Kent but Langford struck out swinging and Lipscomb flew out to center field.
Jake Williams had a two-out single to right — the only Cardinal base runner in the first two innings — but was then caught stealing to end the second.
In the first, Thomas Mayes robbed Watson of at least a double with a diving catch into left center.
“We were hitting it, just right at people,” Williams said. “I knew we’d have that one inning. It was the same way in Game 1 and it proved to be the difference.