ENNIS — Taft Rose and his two-hit pitching mixed in with two Bullard hits and two sacrifices by the Panthers posted a 1-0 win in Game 1 of the Class 3A regional quarterfinal match up with top-ranked, Waco-Robinson on Friday night.
On Saturday, the top-ranked Rockets were locked-and-loaded for a two-game sweep to keep the Robinson (27-2) No. 1 ranking and advance to play No. 3 Bridge City in the regional semifinals.
In the second game, the Rockets bats finally woke up to score three runs in the sixth and two insurance runs in the seventh to take the 6-3 win. Robinson rode the arms of pitchers Zach Sullivan and Friday night’s losing pitcher, Chad Hollingsworth, in to force a third-and-deciding game.
In the deciding game, Robinson bats came alive to take an 11-0 mercy-run rule to win the series.
Bullard ended a banner season with a district title, and area championship season and with a 24-12 record in head coach John Cobb’s first season.
The game started out to like another pitching showdown with Panther Cameron Hallford on the mound facing Rocket hurler Sullivan.
The Rockets did manage to scratch the board in the first inning after leadoff batter Alex Rogers singled and came around to score on the first of three Bullard errors.
Bullard took a 2-1 lead in the fourth on consecutive singles from Holden Bryant, Trevor Rumbelow and J.P. Hendrix. Cody Goode was hit by a pitch to plate Bryant with a 1-1 tie. A sacrifice by Jesse Duplechin scored pinch runner Jess Wood for a 2-1 lead.
Bullard added another run in the fifth inning, led by an RBI-double from Holden Bryant to score Weston Gray for a 3-1 cushion.
A hit batter and back-to-back doubles tied the game back up at 3-3.
Robinson regained the lead for good when catcher Mikey Bielamovicz ripped an RBI-single to plate Zack Law.
Sullivan struck out two, walked two and hit one batter while scattering seven Panther hits in 5.2 innings on the hill.
Hollingsworth came on to walk his first batter with two outs. The Texas-signee Hollingsworth then struck out one to end the sixth, and sat the lineup down in order on strikes to end the game.
Robinson Rockets cranked out the bats in the deciding game, pounding out 15 hits and four for extra bases to end the game with an 11-0 win.
A hit Robinson batter, followed up by an RBI double by Sullivan made it 1-0. Zach Law ripped an RBI single to plate Sullivan for the 2-0 lead.
Three straight singles by Alex Rogers, Hunter Abbe and Sullivan culminated in a 3-0 Rockets lead after two innings.
The Rockets continued the barrage at the plate in the third inning with seven huge runs coming off six hits, two walks and one hit batter.
Facing a 10-0 deficit, the Panthers got a leadoff single by Holden Bryant for the first Panther hit in the bottom of the fourth inning. But a double play by the Rockets erased that threat.
The Panthers managed a one-out single from shortstop Jesse Duplechin in the fifth but Abbe buckled down for two strikeouts to end the game.
Sullivan was a man on a mission at the plate with a 4-for-4 performance, with two doubles, two RBIs, and two runs scored.
Chad Hollingsworth, Zack Law and Jordan Hargis all added two hits apiece in the Rockets win.
Winning pitcher Hunter Abbe went the distance on the mound, striking out six, walking none, scattering the two hits in the shutout win.
The Panthers will lose Rose, Cameron Hallford and Taylor McIntyre to graduation for next season.
Class 3A Region III Quarterfinal
At Lion Field, Ennis
Robinson 100 003 2 — 6 10 3
Bullard 000 210 0 — 3 7 3
Zach Sullivan, Chad Hollingsworth (6) and Mikey Bielamowicz, Cameron Hallford, Zach Eschberger (6), Taylor McIntyre (6) and Trevor Rumbelow. W — Zach Sullivan. L — Cameron Hallford. S — Chad Hollingsworth. 2B — WR: Hunter Abbe, Jordan Hargis. B: Holden Bryant. 3B – WR: Zach Law. SB — WR: Alex Rogers. B: Holden Bryant. SAC — B: Jesse Duplechin, Taft Rose. LOB — WR: 8. B: 9.
Waco Robinson 11, Bullard 0
Robinson 218 00 — 0 2 1
Bullard 000 0X — 11 15 3
Hunter Abbe and Mikey Bielamowicz, Cody Goode, Zach Eschberger (3), Taylor McIntyre (3), Britt Thomas (5), and Trevor Rumbelow. W — Abbe. L — Goode. 2B — WR: Zach Sullivan 2, Zach Law, Matt McQueen. LOB — WR: 9. B: 2.
RECORDS — Waco Robinson 27-2; Bullard 24-12.
NEXT UP — Robinson vs. Bridge City, regional semifinals.