Pottsboro beats Whitewright to clinch a playoff spot in crowded 11-3A standings
WHITEWRIGHT — There had been two upsets in the past week that have helped shape the top of the District 11-3A standings and the third-place Pottsboro Cardinals were intent on not become the third victim of such circumstances.
But it was the sort of situation which helped an underdog’s chances: the Cardinals had played the day before because of a makeup game and their opponent, the Whitewright Tigers, had just knocked Gunter out of sole possession of first place.
“That’s part of being at the top of the standings. You’re a target,” Pottsboro head coach Josh Rollins said. “That’s exactly the conversation we had getting ready to come over. It’s the first thing we covered. You don’t just show up; you can get beat by anybody as the district has shown.”
The Cardinals jumped to a quick lead, continued to stack up big innings and avoided the recent upset bug to hit District 11-3A with a 21-0 victory in five innings over Whitewright to clinch a playoff spot.
Titus Lyons was 2-for-3 with a triple, five RBI and scored twice, Barrett Kent was 2-for-4 with a two-run homer, walked and scored three times, Jackson Lipscomb was 3-for-4 with a triple, drove in two and was hit by a pitch, Jake Kubik was 2-for-3, drove in a run and scored three times and Aaron Massie and Cooper Cathey combined on a three-hitter with seven strikeouts and three walks for Pottsboro (14-9, 8-3), which hosts Whitewright on Monday night.
Caden Mallen singled and walked while Zayne Prieto and Truett Holloway singled for Whitewright (6-17, 4-7), which was eliminated from playoff contention with the loss.
The latest combination of outcomes in the district locked in all four playoff squads — Gunter and Bells are tied in first and Bonham earned the other spot despite losing. Now over the final three games it will be about seeding and namely what happens with Gunter and Bells meeting to end the regular season.
“More than anything, control what we can control and let the rest of it sort itself out,” Rollins said.
After completing the home-and-home with Whitewright, the Cardinals end with a pair against last-place Leonard. But Leonard knocked off Bonham last week and that outcome right now is the reason Pottsboro has a one-game advantage on the Warriors.
The Cardinals put up four runs in the first inning with two outs and no one on. The bases were loaded after an error and walks to Massie and Kubik. Lyons then cleared the bases with a triple to right center and he scored on a wild pitch.
It was a 9-0 advantage after the second inning. Jett Carroll singled to center, an error sent him all the way to third and Braden Driggs drove him in with a groundout to short.
Lipscomb had to settle for a triple to center after just missing clearing the fence and Grayson Watson plated the run with a groundout to second.
Kent singled, Massie walked and Kubik followed with an RBI single to right. Lyons capped the frame with a two-run single.
After Pottsboro went in order in the third, 12 Cardinals stepped to the plate in the fourth as the lead ballooned to 16-0.
Kent smashed a two-run homer to right center following an inning-opening error. With one out, Kubik singled, an error put runners at the corners and Drake Hunter reached on an infield single which drove in a run.
Carroll had an RBI single to center, Driggs followed with an RBI double to left and Lipscomb’s single to left produced the seventh and final run of the inning.
The Cardinals closed the scoring with five runs in the fifth. Pottsboro loaded the bases before Dylan Rader walked to force in a run and Lipscomb was hit by a pitch to force in another.
Watson had a two-run double to right and an error on the play cleared the bases.
The Tigers had a couple of chances to score against Massie, who worked out of a jam he created in the second when Whitewright loaded the bases. He walked Mallen and Kasey Sanders to open the inning and then issued a one-out free pass to Shane Davis. A strikeout and groundout to third ended the threat.
Massie got out of a jam he didn’t create after a pair of errors around an out started the third. A pop-up and strikeout quelled that potential outburst.
Cathey came on in the fourth and Prieto led off the inning with an infield single to short. An error on the play sent him to second and a wild pitch moved him to third but he was stranded there.
Holloway opened the fifth with a hit but two quick outs followed. Mallen had a single but a groundout finished off the contest.