ENNIS — The Bullard Panthers are alive, kicking and one more win away from knocking off the top team in Class 3A.
Led by a complete-game gem from Taft Rose, Bullard downed Waco Robinson 1-0 Friday in Game 1 of their best-of-three 3A Region III quarterfinal series at Lion Field.
The loss dropped Waco Robinson to 25-2 on the year. The Panthers (24-10) can complete an improbable sweep today at Lion Field. First pitch is scheduled for 2 p.m. If a third game is needed, it is scheduled to begin at 4 p.m.
Robinson’s Chad Hollingsworth, a University of Texas signee, did not allow a hit until the fourth inning. Bullard turned that into the eventual game-winning run. Designated hitter Cody Goode started things with a leadoff single. Enter speedster Colton Mebane, who entered to courtesy run for Goode and his wheels paid off.
Two batters later, Bryant belted a shot too hot to handle up the middle to plate Mebane for a 1-0 lead.
Rose’s no-hitter was broken in the fifth inning when Robinson’s Zack Law led off with a single. The Panther defense however erased him immediately turning a double-play to clip the runner at first for two outs.
Rose struck out eight, walked one, surrendered to the two hits, and only two Rocket base runners reached the base paths.
Hollingsworth fanned nine batters and walked none in the loss, but the future Longhorn hit three Panther batters the lone run in the fourth.
Bullard first baseman Cameron Hallford made three defensive gems that denied potential extra-base hits for Robinson. The Panther defense was key in five three-up, three-down innings against the usually hard-hitting Rockets.
Robinson got a runner on with one in the seventh, but fly outs to West Gray in right and Haden Bryant in center to end the game.
Seven starters returned to play for the Rockets this year after a state runner-up spot at state. Robinson ended the Bullard season last year at regionals.
On the football field, Bullard upset Robinson to end its hopes at the area round this past pigskin season.
Bullard 1, No. 1 Waco Robinson 0
Class 3A Region III Quarterfinal
At Lion Field, Ennis
(Bullard leads series 1-0)
Bullard 000 010 0 — 1 2 0
Robinson 000 000 0 — 0 2 2
Taft Rose and Trevor Rumbelow. Chad Hollingsworth and Mikey Bielamowicz. W – Rose. L – Hollingsworth. SAC – B: Jesse Duplechin, Cameron Hallford. LOB – B: 4. WR: 2.
RECORDS — Waco-Robinson 25-2; Bullard 24-10.
NEXT UP — Game 2:?Waco Robinson vs. Bullard, 2 p.m. Saturday at Lion Field, Ennis; Game Three (if necessary) 30 minutes following conclusion of Game Two.