COLEMAN — The Early Longhorns needed extra innings to escape a scare, and moved into a tie for first place in the District 6-3A baseball standings in the process with a 9-8, eight-inning victory over the Coleman Bluecats Tuesday.
The win for Early (12-6, 9-2), coupled with Cisco's (14-3, 9-2) loss at Bangs (9-10, 6-5), creates a tie atop the league standings. Cisco swept Early in district action, however, so the Loboes own the tiebreaker with three games remaining.
In the win over Coleman (2-12, 2-9), Early jumped out to a 6-0 lead after two innings only to witness the Bluecats put eight runs on the board in the bottom of third inning. The Longhorns were able to force extra innings by scoring twice in the top of the seventh inning, then snatched the victory in the eighth.
Rylie Hill led off with eighth with a single to center field for Early, then Jonathan Morales reached on an error. Another Coleman miscue allowed Jesson Tarrant to reach and Hill to score the decisive run.
Early's seventh inning featured a lead double by Jadyn Lehde, then Ethen Portillo was hit by a pitch and Tyson Tyler singled to fill the sacks. Rode Walters' RBI fielder's choice plated Lehde to trim Coleman's lead to 8-7. David Shields followed with a pop up that was dropped at shortstop, which allowed Portillo to tie the game.
The Longhorns finished with nine hits — three by Tarrant, two by Morales and one each by Hill, Lehde, Tyler and Walters — while Coleman committed four errors.
On the mound, Aiden Frerichs, Kyle Ivy, Portillo and Tyler gave up a combined eight earned runs on eight hits with 13 strikeouts and eight walks.
Early visits Comanche (8-13, 4-7) on Thursday.
Dragons 4, Cisco 0
BANGS — The Bangs Dragons took a huge step toward reaching the playoffs by knocking off District 6-3A front-runner Cisco, 4-0, Tuesday.
With the victory, the Dragons (9-10, 6-5) moved into a tie for third place in the league standings with Eastland (11-9, 6-5), and are now two games clear of fifth-place teams Hamilton (10-9, 4-7), Dublin (7-10, 4-7) and Comanche (8-13, 4-7).
Bangs recorded its second consecutive shutout victory as Austin Hall went the distance on the mound, surrendering just four hits and two walks with six strikeouts and six base runners stranded.
The Dragons generated all four of their runs in the bottom of the first as Ethan Sanchez led off with a walk and Kaleb Painter followed with a single to left field. Payton Bible's RBI single drove in Sanchez with the only run required. Following a bunt single from Brayton Wedeman, Eli Carbajal, Hall and Josh Valdez followed with consecutive RBI infield singles.
Bangs finished with 12 hits overall — two each by Bible, Valdez and Branden Moore, along with one apiece by Sanchez, Painter, Wedeman, Hall and Wesley Mitchell.
The Dragons venture to Eastland (11-9, 6-5) Thursday with a chance to move into sole possession of third place.
Lady Horns 13, Coleman 0
COLEMAN — The Early Lady Horns rolled to 13-0 victory over Coleman Tuesday and are now in a tie for second place in the District 6-3A standings with Comanche, which will host Early in Thursday's regular season finale.
The Lady Horns (24-5, 11-2) will need to defeat Comanche (17-7, 11-2) Thursday and have Bangs (11-15, 6-7) knock off Eastland (25-3, 12-1) to earn a share of the district championship, as Comanche was unable to defeat Eastland a second time in league play.
In Early's win over Coleman (13-12, 7-6), the Lady Horns seized control with six runs in the top of the second inning. Early tacked on three more in the fourth and four in the fifth to enforce the mercy rule.
In the circle, Laiken Reagan went the distance, yielding seven hits with three strikeouts and no walks.
Offensive standouts included Sydnee Shea with three hits and two RBIs; Emma Loven and Taylor Summers with two RBIs and one hit apiece; Emma Connelly and Emily Rodriguez contributed two hits each, and Connelly also drove in a run. Vance Cady Gordon finished with one hit, while Kailee Love knocked in a run.
Lady Dragons 8, Cisco 7
BANGS — Trailing by four runs heading into the bottom of the seventh and final inning, the Bangs Lady Dragons scored five times to stun the Cisco Lady Loboes for an 8-7 District 6-3A softball victory Tuesday.
Bangs (11-15, 6-7) jumped out to a 3-0 lead after two innings, but Cisco (10-15, 4-9) fired back with seven unanswered runs in the fifth and sixth innings.
In the Lady Dragons' last at-bat, Honey Keely led off with a double and Ashlynn Emerson walked ahead of Kialie Dodson's RBI double, which trimmed Cisco's lead to 7-4. Sydney Horton then stepped to the plate and launched a three-run home run to left field that knotted the score. Jacee Miller immediately followed with a double, then Kenzie Baker laid down a bunt and reached safely, while an error on the play allowed Miller to race home with the winning run.
Dodson pitched all seven innings for the Lady Dragons, giving up three earned runs on seven hits with four strikeouts and a walk.
The Lady Dragons' 11-hit attack featured three from Keely, two each from Ysa Zapata and Marissa Perez and one apiece by Dodson, Horton, Miller and Serenity Hyles.
Bangs wraps up the regular season Thursday when it travels to first-place Easltland (25-3, 12-1).