Whitesboro sweeps Keene to start the playoffs
PONDER — These Bearcats may not be postseason veterans, but they took care of business like they were.
Big innings combined with shutdown pitching are a formula that will work for just about anyone and Whitesboro never gave Keene a chance thanks to a pair of blowout victories, the last by a 15-1 margin in five innings as the Bearcats swept the Chargers in a Class 3A Region II bi-district series.
“We came in knowing we had no playoff experience with these guys,” Whitesboro head coach Curt Cole said. “It was everybody’s first playoff game so it was getting our feet wet and they responded pretty good by playing well.”
Whitesboro (21-6) will face Gunter in an area round series at Denton Guyer. Game 1 will be at 7:30 p.m. on Thursday with Games 2 and 3 at 5:30 p.m. on Friday.
Greyson Ledbetter had a two-run homer and allowed a run on three hits with six strikeouts and three walks, Jacob Smith singled, walked three times and scored twice, Jace Sanders was 2-for-4 with a double and scored three times, Major Ledbetter was 2-for-2 with two RBI and scored twice and Torran Naglestad was 2-for-4 with two RBI and scored for Whitesboro, which is in the second round for the fifth straight time.
Hadley Stockton singled, walked and was hit by pitch and Cole Ford singled and scored for Keene (9-13).
Naglestad had a two-run single in the fourth to end the scoring after Whitesboro loaded the bases with one out when Jake Hermes reached on an error, Major Ledbetter singled and Smith walked.
The Bearcats broke the game open with a nine-run third that was started by Greyson Ledbetter's two-run blast to left-center after Sanders opened the third with a single.
Paul Griffith reached on an error, Mac Harper singled and Clayton Knight had an RBI single to center for a 7-0 lead.
The Bearcats loaded the bases with no outs and Major Ledbetter delivered a two-run single to left.
Smith walked to reload the bases as the eighth straight Bearcat to reach base. Naglestad grounded into a fielder’s choice, which drove in a run, and an error on the play allowed another run to score.
Sanders had a double to left center and Naglestad was caught in a rundown but avoided the catcher's tag and made it 12-0.
Greyson Ledbetter hit a grounder to short and Sanders got the attention of Zeb Nieves by rounding third and his throw to the plate got away as the lead widened.
Whitesboro took a 4-0 advantage in the second with some more two-out mistakes. Hermes walked with one out and stole second. Parker hit a chopper to third for the second out and Jeb Rodriguez threw across the diamond despite the fact that Hermes stayed at second.
The short hop went to the fence and Hermes raced home.
Smith followed with a single to left and stole second. He headed to third on a wild pitch and catcher Dominick Patterson’s throw went wide to bring in another run.
The Bearcats picked up a pair of runs in the bottom of the first thanks to a two-out error. Smith walked and Naglestad singled before a fielder’s choice put runners at the corners.
A grounder over first base was flubbed by Rodriguez and Griffith hustled to the bag as both runners came around to score on the play.
The Chargers avoided the shutout with a run in the fourth. Ford singled to right, Dann Jimmy walked, a wild pitch moved them up and Will Wood had an RBI groundout to first.
Keene had runners on in every inning. The Chargers left a pair of runners on in the first and almost did in the third but Maxx Parker shut down a bigger inning when the right fielder threw out Matt Havens at first on what looked like a ground ball single after Stockton led off the inning with a walk.
It was the second out of the inning instead of Keene having a pair on.
“We did a good job of when they were getting on to get back in the zone to make them earn it but we can’t put ourselves in those tough situations from here on out,” Cole said.
Whitesboro opened the series with a 14-1 victory in five innings. Harper allowed a run on two hits with 10 strikeouts and three walks and went 3-for-3 with two RBI and scored, Greyson Ledbetter was 3-for-4 and a double shy of the cycle with three RBI and scored three times, Sanders singled, walked, drove in three and scored twice, Smith doubled, walked twice and scored three times and Griffith doubled, drove in a run and scored twice.
“We weren't hesitant. We didn’t lose our aggression. We didn’t have the scared look,” Cole said. “We were here to play. I was worried a little bit about it being their first playoff game. It didn’t bother them at all.”
Class 3A Region II
Note: Whitesboro wins series 2-0