Bells blanked by Grandview in series opener
PLANO — Just about every inning when the Panthers went to the plate, the first guy to step in the box quickly found himself at first base.
The promise of putting together a bigger inning never went much further than that and Bells was forced to play catch-up the entire way as Grandview defeated the Panthers, 3-0, to open a Class 3A Region II area round series at John Paul II.
"When you get to this round, all the little things aren't little any more," Panthers head coach Kent Craig said. "When you get leadoff guys on, you can't not score them. The two teams are pretty even and every little thing matters."
Grandview (27-5) will look to sweep the series at 7:30 p.m. on Friday night while Bells (23-9) will attempt to force a deciding contest at 3 p.m. on Saturday.
Landan Morse allowed four hits, two walks, hit a batter and struck out six, Tanner Carter went 2-for-3 and Keaton High walked twice for Bells.
Ely Reeves scattered four hits and three walks and struck out seven, Cayden Self was 2-for-2 and walked and Jimmy Mathis doubled, walked and scored twice for Edgewood.
Morse overcame a shaky start by retiring eight straight before a two-out walk by Self in the sixth but then had his fourth strikeout of the contest.
After Mathis’ leadoff double in the third, Morse allowed only two more base runners the rest of the way.
"We kept flirting like we were going to score a run and Landan held them right there," Craig said. "We were there."
Hayden Trainor led off the bottom of the seventh with an infield hit in the hole at shortstop but Reeves struck out the side to finish off the shutout.
Bells brought the tying run to the plate in the sixth inning after Colt Stone started things with a single to right and Keaton High walked. But Carter hit a grounder right near second base that shortstop Blaine Vaughn fielded and stepped right on the bag to start the double play. Morse popped out and Stone was stranded at third.
The Panthers also had the leadoff man on in three of the first four innings but never got him past second base.
In the third Koehler High walked but courtesy runner Kaden Pyle was immediately picked off and in the fourth Carter singled up the middle but Reeves retired the next three batters to keep him anchored at first.
"We heard their pitchers do a phenomenal job of holding runners. This guy was unbelievable," Craig said. "That doesn't allow you to do a whole lot on the bases."
Bells opened the bottom of the first inning with a walk by Keaton High and Carter’s single to left.
Morse and Trainor each followed with choppers to third that Mason Lawson took to the bag for forceouts and Morse got picked off second to end the frame.
"It's a different game if we get one that first inning, scratch out a run," Craig said. "That's a little momentum that comes back our way."
Grandview missed a chance to pad its three-run advantage in the fourth. Self opened the inning with a single to left-center and a balk sent him to second. He ended up at third after a groundout for the second out but was stranded there.
The Zebras went up 3-0 in the third when Mathis doubled, was sacrificed to third by Donnie Dycus and scored on Rahat Suddle’s groundout to second.
Dycus was charging down the third-base line and if Suddle hadn’t swung it would have been an easy out and kept the deficit a little more manageable for the Panthers.
Grandview jumped to a lead in the top of the first that the Zebras eventually made stand up.
Mathis led off with a walk and Dycus followed with a single to left that put runners at the corners. Suddle was hit by a pitch to load the bases.
The Zebras got on the board when Jacob Vernon grounded into a 6-4-3 double play and Dycus scampered home on a wild pitch for the two-run margin.
Class 3A Region II
At John Paul II