ROYSE CITY — Ethan Watson made big contributions at the plate and on the mound as the Gunter Tigers swept Grand Saline with a 12-3 victory in Game 2 of their Class 3A Region II quarterfinal series on Friday night.
Gunter (26-8) will face Big Sandy Harmony in a region semifinal series at Royse City. Game 1 is at 7:30 p.m. on Thursday with Games 2 and 3 at 4 p.m. on Saturday. It is the second appearance in three years and the fifth in eight seasons for the Tigers to reach the fourth round. They will be trying to make it to the region final for the first time since 2004.
Watson allowed a pair of earned runs on five hits with five strikeouts and two walks and was 4-for-5 with two doubles, a triple, two RBI and scored three times as the Tigers produced double-digit runs for the fourth straight game and outscored Grand Saline (23-11) by a 22-3 margin in the series.
Kyle Ball was 2-for-5 with a double, five RBI and scored, Bryson Rigsby was 2-for-4 and scored three times, Powell Zuniga doubled, walked twice, drove in two runs and scored and Zander Turner was 2-for-4 and scored.
Gunter jumped to a 3-0 lead in the bottom of the first inning as Zuniga had a two-run double and and Kyle Ball drove in Garrett Vogel on a bunt.
The Tigers pushed their advantage to 8-0 in the second. Turner and Rigsby singled and everybody was safe when Watson bunted and reached on a fielder’s choice. Turner and Rigsby scored on passed balls and Ball had a two-run, two-out double to left.
David Denton finished off the outburst with an RBI single.
After Grand Saline scored in the top of the third, the Tigers loaded the bases with two outs on a Watson double and walks by Vogel and Brooks Caple before Ball’s two-run single gave Gunter a 10-1 lead.
The Indians scored twice in the fourth before the Tigers ended the scoring with a pair of runs in the sixth on Watson’s two-run triple with two outs.
Montana Martin singled, drove in two runs and scored, Deatherage Reed singled and scored and Judsen Truett singled and drove in a run for Grand Saline.