GLEN ROSE — A handful of Argyle players said their eyes lit up when they pulled up to the field in Glen Rose and saw the fence a few feet shallower than what they’re used to.
The Eagles’ offense capitalized.
Argyle hit five home runs Thursday, including two grand slams, and Texas-San Antonio commit Chad Ricker threw a no-hitter as the Eagles defeated Brownwood 22-0 in Game 1 of a best-of-three Class 4A regional quarterfinal series.
“We have the ability to swing it like that,” Argyle coach Ricky Griffin said. “I think that we had to have a team get our attention, and it’s a shame that we waited until the third round to come to the ballpark ready to play. I challenged our guys tonight to give the effort we did early in the season against 5A and 6A teams, and we did that.”
Every Argyle starter had a hit on a night when the Eagles collected 18 hits in five innings. Leading the way was Ricker, who finished 3-for-4 with seven RBIs and two home runs, including a towering grand slam over the left field fence in the fourth.
“Coach challenged us to hit like we were in the beginning of the year, and we did that tonight,” Ricker said. “We saw the wind was blowing out with short fences, so we knew we just had to get it in the air and it would get out.”
In the first, Dillon Carter started things off with a long home run toward the vehicles beyond the right field fence. Argyle scored 13 runs in the fourth while sending 17 batters to the plate.
No. 9 batter Bo Hogeboom blasted a grand slam over the 340-foot center field fence in the second to give the Eagles a 5-0 lead. Hogeboom finished 2-for-2 with six RBIs.
Texas A&M commit Cade Merka went 2-for-3 with two runs, four RBIs and a home run. Merka also snagged a line drive and fired a shot to first base for a 5-3 double play to diminish a Brownwood scoring chance.
Ricker’s no-hitter included six strikeouts and three walks, and the senior threw 68 pitches.
“Off the mound, we’ve been seeing that all year,” Griffin said.
Game 2 is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. Friday at Glen Rose, as Argyle looks to move on to the regional semifinals in its defense of the 4A state championship.
“I liked our attitude at the plate and I thought we were aggressive,” Griffin said. “We took a lot better swings tonight than we’ve been taking. All we can hope for is that we carry some of that momentum into [Friday]. You can get beat after winning by 22 runs and be out of the playoffs if you don’t try to repeat that.”
Argyle 22, Brownwood 0 (5)
Argyle 144 (13)0 — 22 18 0
Brownwood 000 00 — 0 0 0
WP – Chad Ricker; LP – Jacob Dorsett; HR – Chad Ricker (2), Cade Merka, Bo Hogeboom, Dillon Carter; 2B – Bo Hogeboom, Preston King, Cade Merka