The best season in Van baseball history continued Saturday and now the Vandals are going somewhere they've never been.
Van defeated Bullard 6-4 in Game 2 at Mike Carter Field to complete a sweep of their Class 4A Region II quarterfinal series. The Vandals won Game 1, 10-2, on Friday.
Van (22-7-1) advances to face Argyle (24-7) next week in the regional semifinals — the first time ever for Vandals baseball. Bullard's season ended with a 19-8 record.
Van starter Garin Shelton went 5 1/3 innings with six strikeouts as the Vandals led 5-0 entering the fifth.
The Panthers refused to give in, needing a win in Game 2 just to force a third game later that day. Bullard scored three runs in the fifth and added another in the sixth.
With the score 6-4 in the top of the seventh, two two-out walks brought the potential winning run to the plate before Van's Robbie Davis induced a pop fly to end the game.
Bullard made five errors in the loss. All told, the Panthers made nine errors in the two games. The Panthers also struggled to get runners home, stranding 12 in Saturday's loss.
Bullard loaded the bases with one out in the first inning against Shelton, but an unassisted double play got him out of the inning.
In the bottom of the first, Cooper Bledsoe led off with a single and came around to score on an RBI single from Christian Cole. The momentum continued with a single by Cole Newsom and Bret Hale was hit by a pitch to load the bases.
Jacob Tobias worked a walk to score Cole and make it 2-0.
Van tacked on three more runs in the bottom of the second, loading the bases again when Cole walked, Newsom reached on an error and Jacoby Bogue was safe at first on a fielder's choice after a bunt. Another error scored Cole and Sean Beasley followed with a two-run single to make it 5-0.
The score remained that way until the top of the fifth. Zach Eschberger got Bullard on the board when he singled, stole second, went to third on a wild pitch and came home on a passed ball. An error by Van later in the inning plated two more runs for Bullard with Wes Jones and Josh Chewning coming home to make it 5-3.
Eschberger put the Panthers within a run, 5-4, in the sixth with an RBI double that scored Travis Kotzur.
Class 4A Region II Quarterfinals
Van 6, Bullard 4
(Van wins series 2-0)
Bullard 000 031 0 — 4 6 5
Van 230 001 x — 6 5 2
Ty Miller and Cleet Bowman; Garin Shelton, Robbie Davis and Brett Doring. W – Shelton. L – Miller. 2B – V: Christian Cole.
RECORDS — Bullard 19-8; Van 22-7-1
NEXT UP — Bullard season complete; Van vs. Argyle in 4A Region II semifinals at a time and place still to be determined.