ARGYLE — Well, that escalated quickly.
After eking out a walk-off win in Game 1 of Friday’s Class 4A area-round playoff series against Graham, Argyle sent 19 batters to the plate in a laughable first half-inning of Game 2 that saw the Eagles score 13 runs en route to a 15-0 win in five innings.
Argyle, which won the opener 2-1 only 30 minutes earlier despite striking out nine times, had six hits in the nightcap but only needed four of them in the top of the first to pull away convincingly.
In that frame, the Steers committed two errors while three pitchers combined to walk seven batters and hit three. The Eagles (33-1-1) scored their first 11 runs with one out.
Brenden Dixon, a Texas signee, went 2-for-2 with a home run, double and four RBIs in Game 2. Utah signee Sean Bolin struck out seven while allowing one hit in a shutout.
Chad Ricker, Argyle’s Game 1 starter, also earned a complete-game victory.
Argyle will face Brownwood in a Region I quarterfinal series at Glen Rose. No dates were set as of press time.
“We came out flat, but their left-hander also threw well and kept us off balance. We couldn’t square up and got a little frustrated — and give credit to Graham because every ball we hit, they made a play on,” Argyle coach Ricky Griffin said. “But in the second game their kid had trouble throwing strikes early and we got on a roll. We let out some frustration.
“Once we relaxed, it was kind of how we’ve been playing all year long.”
While Game 2 quickly went in Argyle’s favor, the Eagles found themselves just trying to keep the score close in the opener. Graham jumped out to an early 1-0 lead, and though Argyle rallied to tie it in the second, Graham ace Luke Stone — much like Argyle’s Ricker — appeared to be in complete control.
Stone allowed one run and three hits and struck out eight through the first six innings. But his pitch count ballooned to 105, which prompted a pitching change to open the bottom of the seventh.
The change instantly swung the momentum of the game. Steers reliever Grant Bullock surrendered a leadoff double to Preston King, then walked Dillon Carter. With the bases loaded two batters later, Hayden Clearman drilled the game-winning single to the right field wall.
“That’s the guy you don’t want to see come up to the plate when the game is on the line,” Griffin said of Clearman. “He’s the guy we want to see, but not for the other team. With runners anywhere close to scoring, he’s going to come through.
“That’s why you have to pitch and play good defense. You’re not going to win big every game, so they have to stay consistent and keep you in the game until you can get to the next pitcher and hopefully have better swings.”
Argyle 2, Graham 1
Graham 100 000 0 — 1 6 0 Argyle 010 000 1 — 2 5 1
WP – Chad Ricker. LP – Grant Bullock. 3B – A: Alex Gonzales. 2B – A: Preston King. Graham (19-13-2). Argyle (32-1-1).
Argyle 15, Graham 0 (5)
Argyle (13)10 10 — 15 6 1 Graham 000 00 — 0 1 2
WP – Sean Bolin. LP – Owen Loesch. HR – A: Brenden Dixon. 2B – A: Brenden Dixon. Graham (19-14-2). Argyle (33-1-1).