Brock wins game one
FORT WORTH – When you’re young, the learning curve can be quite large.
Jacksboro is in the middle of what Coach Blake Belcher calls a three-year learning curve. His Tigers headed into a regional quarterfinal series Thursday night with perennial state contender Brock not sure of what to expect.
Jacksboro jumped on Eagle starter Jase Lopez for an eight-run fourth inning ... and then watched the Eagles mount a comeback over the final three innings, scoring 11 runs in the process. To their credit, the Tigers didn’t go quietly into the night at Thomas Ray Elliott Field but ultimately succumbed in an 11-9 game 1 loss.
Despite the opening setback in the best-of-three series, Belcher was proud of his troops’ performance.
“This is a new experience for all of us but we were right there all evening,” Belcher said following the 2:51 contest at Arlington Heights High School. “We’re in a learning curve. This is a three-year deal for us. This is the first time we’ve faced a top ranked team in the State and I think we did pretty well.”
Lopez, the reported ace of the Brock staff, and Jacksboro’s Clay Botello locked into a pitcher’s duel for the first three innings. Botello struck out four and walked five over the first four innings but was able to get out of jams before his teammates got their bats rolling in the bottom of the fourth.
A walk to Lathan Lowrance, Tyler Harmonson’s bunt single, and Luke Dixon being hit by a pitch loaded the bases. A throw to third to catch Lowrance stealing was off the mark and allowed the sophomore to score.
Botello aided his cause with a single to again load the sacks. Hunter Drennan then doubled to extend the lead to 4-0 and went to third on an error.
Fernando Piedra then singled home courtesy runner Jacob Hull for a 5-0 lead. Walks to Caleb Nunley and Lowrance again loaded the sacks with two gone.
Harmonson then followed with a single to score a pair with Dixon singling home Harmonson for an 8-0 cushion before a lineout ended the threat.
Jacksboro would try and add to its lead in the fifth and sixth using hits by Ty Kennedy, Michael Harp and Payton Laake to no avail. Brock would score twice in the fifth, five times in the sixth and four more in the seventh to take an 11-8 lead. Down to their final three outs, Jacksboro dug in its heels.
Dixon opened the frame with a single with Botello drawing a walk. With the tying run at the plate, Brock reliever Cooper Nelson tried to pick Dixon off of second but the throw was off the mark, allowing an aggressive Dixon to slide into home, cutting the deficit to two.
It wasn’t to be as the next three hitters were retired to end the game. Belcher said he feels good that his players wouldn’t go into a funk heading into tonight’s game two in Graford.
“If we can get 10 hits off these guys, I think we can come back and hit the ball and get back in the series,” Belcher said.
Game time is 6 p.m. tonight.