ABILENE — The two-time defending state champion and second-ranked Abilene Wylie Bulldogs wrapped up a District 5-4A baseball sweep of Brownwood Friday afternoon, but the Lions still locked up a playoff berth despite the loss.
Following Brownwood's 6-2 defeat at the hands of Wylie, Snyder knocked off Big Spring, 4-1, Friday night to secure a postseason spot not only for the Tigers (10-16, 3-5) but for the Lions, who will wrap up the regular season at 7 p.m. Tuesday when they host Sweetwater (12-11, 4-3). Brownwood (16-10, 3-4) could finish anywhere from second to fourth, based on the outcomes of Tuesday's regular season finales and potential seeding games later in the week.
In Friday's game against Wylie (19-2, 7-0), the Lions surrendered two runs in each in the first and third innings and one run apiece and in the second and fifth, before tallying their two runs in the top of the seventh.
Brownwood was limited to a pair of hits by Wylie pitcher Blake Smith, who tossed a complete game with five strikeouts and one walk. Smith carried a perfect game into the seventh inning, as he retired the first 19 Brownwood batters in order.
After Cain Kittrell was retired for the first out in the top of the seventh, a one-out walk by Grayson Swanzy ruined the perfect game, then Gavon Clemons followed with a double to spoil the no-hitter. With runners on second and third, Rylan Reagan doubled to left field to score both base runners and end the shutout. Carlos Benites was hit by a pitch with two outs, but the Lions' rally ended with two runners on base and the tying run in the on deck circle.
On the mound for the Lions, Reagan worked 2.2 innings and yielded five runs – all earned — on six hits with five walks and two strikeouts. Swanzy tossed 2.1 innings, allowing an unearned run on four hits with five strikeouts and three walks. Clemons also pitched a perfect inning, recording one strikeout.
Wylie's two-run first inning featured a two-out, two-run home run by Caleb Munton that also scored Sam King, who led off with a base hit. The Bulldogs stretched their lead to 3-0 in the second as a two-out, bases-loaded walk by Brady Horn brought in Nathan Moore, who walked with one out.
The Bulldog advantage grew to 5-0 in the third as Tyler Spears led off with a double and scored on Jaxon Hansen's RBI single, then King's RBI sacrifice fly plated Hansen.
Wylie's final run in the fifth was the result of a bases-loaded walk to Munton, which scored Moore who reached on a leadoff error — the only Brownwood miscue of the contest.