GLEN ROSE — Argyle hit two grand slams in a dominant Game 1 win against Brownwood, but Preston King wasn’t intent on joining the club when he approached the plate with the bases loaded in the bottom of the third inning Friday night.
King, who went 2-for-4 on Thursday but popped out twice, said he was just focused on hitting a line drive back up the middle. King may not have been trying hit a grand slam, but he did so anyway after taking a first-pitch strike and launching the second pitch he saw well over the left-field wall to score four runs.
The home run, Argyle’s third of the night, gave the Eagles a nine-run lead and all but put the game out of reach.
“After popping those two up yesterday, I really was just trying to look up the middle,” King said. “He gave me something to hit, and it just carried out. It felt pretty good — I haven’t hit a home run in about 20 games or something like that, so it was about time to get another one.”
Argyle put the finishing touches on an 11-1 run-rule victory in the bottom of the fifth when King reached base on a walk, stole second and eventually came around to score on a single from Dillon Carter.
The Eagles outscored Brownwood 33-1 in two games to complete the sweep while improving to 35-1-1 on the season. Argyle now advances to the regional semifinals next week, where they’ll meet the winner of a best-of-three series between Canyon and Pampa.
“I told the guys that I needed them to take the same approach at the plate that they had in Game 1, and they did that tonight,” Argyle coach Ricky Griffin said. “We hit the balls hard all night, and I was proud of them.”
Brownwood got off to a strong start in the top of the first when Cain Kittrell blasted a leadoff home run over the left-field wall, but Argyle starter Sean Bolin settled down and responded well. Bolin allowed two hits and one run in four innings while striking out five to get the victory.
Tate Van Poppel was also efficient on the mound, throwing a scoreless inning of relief in the fifth with 11 pitches.
“That’s Sean’s third outing of the playoffs, and all of them have been really sharp,” Griffin said. “I’m really proud of that. And of course, to have Van Poppel — he’s 8-0 with a 0.90 ERA. To bring that guy in at the end of the game, you love it.”
In addition to King’s grand slam, Carter went 3-for-3 with a two-run home run and had three RBIs while Chad Ricker went 1-for-3 with a solo home run. Argyle drew eight walks, led by Brenden Dixon and Alex Gonzales, who had two apiece.
The Eagles now hope their level of play carries over to the regional semifinal round after Griffin challenged the team to elevate its production to what he knows it’s capable of. Argyle finished the quarterfinal series against Brownwood with 24 hits and 33 runs while surrendering two hits and one run.
“The biggest thing in this series was getting our level of play back where it needed to be because we know what’s in front of us,” Griffin said. “If we’re not going to play at the level we played this weekend, we’re not going to continue to get to play. We had to do this, and I’m proud of them for taking the challenge and getting it done.”
Argyle 11, Brownwood 1 (5)
Brownwood 100 00 – 1 2 4
Argyle 334 01 – 11 6 0
WP – Sean Bolin. LP – Hunter Leonard. HR – Argyle: Chad Ricker, Dillon Carter, Preston King.