Pottsboro comes up short against Prairiland
ANNA — In a game full of twists and turns, the final inning provided one more roller-coaster of emotions.
The Cardinals were down to their final three outs, behind by three runs, and yet Pottsboro was stringing together a rally which had the go-ahead run at first.
But Prairiland had not been fazed over the final two games in this series, and despite the momentum swinging away from it, the Patriots got the final out they needed and held on for a 10-9 victory over Pottsboro in the deciding contest of a Class 3A Region II bi-district series.
Prairiland (15-13) will face Boyd in the area round.
“It was far from a clean game. They did a good job putting the ball in play and we didn’t make the plays,” Pottsboro head coach Josh Rollins said. “If you’re going to win in the playoffs you’ve got to make the routine plays."
Jake Kubik was 3-for-4 with a double, two RBI and scored twice, Jett Carroll was 2-for-4 with three RBI and scored twice, Barrett Kent was 2-for-5 with a double and scored twice and Titus Lyons was 2-for-4 and scored twice for Pottsboro (18-12), which failed to make the second round for the first time since 2011.
“Feel terrible for the seniors,” Rollins said. “They’ve played a lot of baseball for Pottsboro and to have their careers end like that, I feel terrible for them.”
Braydan Nichols was 2-for-3 and scored twice, Brooks Morrison was 2-for-3, walked, drove in a run and scored and Gage Ballard was 2-for-3, drove in a run and scored for Prairiland.
After opening the series with a 9-0 victory, the Cardinals lost 3-1 to avoid the winner-take-all contest they nearly pulled out.
Lyons reached on an error to open the top of the seventh and stole second. He scored on Carroll’s one-out single to center and Braden Driggs doubled down the the first-base line.
Jackson Lipscomb grounded out to third to drive in another run as the Cardinals inched closer. Grayson Watson was hit by a pitch to represent the go-ahead run but Kent grounded out to third and Jacob Veal stepped on the bag to seal the win for the Patriots.
“We gave ourselves a chance despite the mistakes and errors,” Rollins. We had seven runs by the fourth inning so we felt capable of scoring three there.”
Prairiland produced some much needed insurance in the sixth. Nichols and Morrison started with hits and a fielder’s choice put runners at the corners. Brylee Galloway singled just inside the right-field line for a run and Pottsboro was about to head to the seventh down 9-7 but Kent dropped a throw from shortstop on a groundout that would have ended the inning. The final out came on an ensuing rundown but not before Galloway scored what turned out to be the deciding run.
The Patriots erased all of a six-run deficit by taking the lead with seven runs in the bottom of the fourth.
Veal, Blake Ballard and Bankhead singled with the latter hit driving in a run.
Another run scored on a wild pitch and after a strikeout and walk, Nichols had an infield single to short that made it 7-4. Morrison had an RBI single to center.
Caleb Jameson hit a high chopped to first and Kent tried for the out at home but his throw was to the first-base side of the plate, Nichols was able to score and Prairiland was down by a run.
An error on a dropped third strike with a return throw to the plate that was wide allowed Prairiland to tie the game, despite Morrison stumbling on the way home.
The Patriots took the lead after Jaxson Jester relieved Drake Hunter. He threw a wild pitch and Jameson raced home for an 8-7 advantage.
Pottsboro took a 7-1 lead in the top of the fourth on Kubik’s RBI single to left. Kent had doubled to right center with one out before Aaron Massie walked. The Cardinals ended up leaving the bases loaded.
The Cards jumped to a 6-1 advantage with a two-out rally in the third which started when Kent beat out an infield single to keep the inning alive. Massie walked and Kubik followed with an RBI single up the middle off the mound.
Lyons loaded the bases with a hit and Hunter was hit by a pitch to force in a run. Carroll’s two-run single to left made it 5-1 and Driggs had an RBI single to center.
Prairiland tied the game in the bottom of the second. Veal reached on an error, a pair of wild pitches sent him over to third and Ballard drove him in with a groundout to second.
Pottsboro took a 1-0 lead in the top of the second. Massie led off with a walk and Kubik followed with a double down the third-base line but Massie was thrown out going to third. Hunter had a two-out RBI single to left to get the Cardinals on the board but they stranded runners at the corners.
Prairiland left the bases loaded in the bottom of the first. With one out, Nichols was hit by a pitch, Morrison walked and Jameson singled to right center.
After Galloway hit a soft liner to second, Nichols tried to score on a wild pitch that didn’t get far enough away from Carroll, who recovered in plenty of time and threw to Hunter covering the plate to end the inning.
Class 3A Region II