ENNIS — The Bullard Panthers may have been down after a loss on Friday night but bounced back on Saturday to win a three-game Class 3A area baseball playoff series against Lorena, winning Game 2 in extra innings, 6-4, and using a huge comeback to take Game 3 9-8 at Lion Field.
Bullard (22-10) advances to the regional quarterfinals against Waco Robinson.
In head coach John Cobb’s first season at the helm he has led the Panthers to an overall 23-10 mark.
Back-to-back-to-back singles by Trevor Rumbelow, J.P. Hendrix and Cody Goode were enough to plate two runs in the eighth inning and Bullard held on for the win 6-4.
Taft Rose led the sticks with a 3-for-4 performance but his two assists from right field proved to save the game in the seventh inning after the Leopards had scored a run for a 4-4 tie.
Cameron Hallford took the 7-4 loss on the mound in Game 1 on Friday night but rebounded to clout his second homer of the year while making a few stellar plays at third base to aid in the Game 2 win.
With the series tied 1-1 and trailing 6-1 in Game 3, the Bullard Panthers rallied for eight runs in the bottom of the sixth inning to overcome the deficit and win the rubber game of the series with a 9-8 win.
A leadoff double by Holden Bryant started the rally but it was a huge two-run double by Hallford that gave Bullard a 7-6 lead. Two errors by the Leopards aided in plating the final two runs.
The contest was not over, however, until Leopard shortstop Justin Walton (2 for 4, two-run homer, RBI double) was at the plate with the tying run at first base.
Reliever Taylor McIntyre came on to pitch to Walton, striking him out for the final out and Bullard victory.
Leading Bullard was designated hitter Goode with a 2-for-3 day at the plate with two RBIs and one run scored among the eight run surprise for the Panthers.
Freshman lefty Zach Eschberger picked up both wins on the day on the mound.
Class 3A Area Playoffs
At Lion Field, Ennis
(Bullard wins series 2-1)
Bullard 6, Lorena 4 (8 innings)
Bullard 003 100 02 — 6 9 2
Lorena 100 101 20 — 4 7 4
Cody Goode, Zach Eshberger (7) and Trevor Rumbelow. Jimmy Roberts and Jared Smith. W – Eschberger. L – Roberts. 2B- B: Holden Bryant. L: Jimmy Roberts, Justin Walton. HR – B: Cameron Hallford (solo, fourth inning). L: Collin Sharpe (solo, fourth inning). SB – B: Jess Wood 2, Taft Rose 2, Brooks Conlee 2. SAC – B: Rose. LOB – B: 4. L: 3.
Bullard 9, Lorena 8
Lorena 400 002 2 — 8 9 5
Bullard 100 008 x — 9 7 4
Taft Rose, Zach Eschberger (6), Taylor McIntyre (7), and Trevor Rumbelow. Dane Lovejoy, Spencer Smith (6), and Ragan Forrest. W – Eschberger. L – Lovejoy. S – Taylor McIntyre. 2B- L: Collin Sharpe 2, Justin Walton. B: Holden Bryant, Cameron Hallford. HR – L: Justin Walton (one on, sixth inning). SB – B: Taylor McIntyre, J.P. Hendrix, Weston Gray. SAC – L: Bobby Strahan. LOB – L: 5. B: 4.
RECORDS — Lorena 20-12. Bullard 23-10.
NEXT UP — Bullard vs. Waco Robinson, regional quarterfinals, site and time, TBD.