Coby Weaver’s Fifth No-Hitter Of The Season Lifts Hallsville Over Lufkin In Game 1
KILGORE -- After it was all said and done, the first of more than 1,000 Hallsville fans waiting to get a piece of Coby Weaver were a young girl and boy that joined him on the warning track during his postgame conditioning routine.
The three ran together in the least tense moment of the night Friday at Kilgore's Driller Park.
Less than 10 minutes before and with runners on first and second base, Weaver struck out his 13th batter to cap his fifth no-hitter of the season. He did it with 112 pitches.
This one might have been the biggest for the Dallas Baptist signee. The Bobcats downed a red-hot Lufkin team, 2-0, and took a 1-0 lead in the best-of-three Class 5A regional quarterfinal battle.
"The no-hitter crossed my mind," Weaver said, "but once I put those two guys on I was like, 'Alright, they can get a hit if they want to. I just want to get out of here with a win.' We did it last week, coming back from a loss, and it's hard. That's all that was going through my mind."
Hallsville's starter wasn't handed this one.
Lufkin (25-4) had not lost since district play started. Its pitching staff has been dominant, and Houston signee Trey Cumbie threw a spectacular complete game in his own right.
Cumbie allowed three hits through seven innings, struck out five batters and stranded four runners in scoring position. More than enough to keep Hallsville (25-4) sweating until the end.
The Panthers' bottom of the seventh inning was a breakthrough. They managed to sidestep the prospect of being no-hit with a leadoff ground ball between an infielder's legs and forced Weaver's third walk of the evening on the pitcher's 98th throw of the night.
But Hallsville catcher Colton Oberthier put a lid on the comeback attempt with a successful throw to third base on a sacrifice bunt before Weaver responded for a pop fly out and swinging strikeout.
"I talked to my kids," Bobcats skipper Scott Mitchell said. "I said, 'Have you ever been in a fight? Because that's what you're fixing to be in.' This whole series, it's going to be a fight and you're going to have to fight your way out at times. It's not over. One game is not a series and it's going to be a fight tomorrow."
Hallsville center fielder Jacob Walker led the game off with a triple. Nothing came of it. Cumbie struck out the next three batters.
The Bobcats scratched their first run across in the fourth inning. Logan Bailey batted over the left side of Lufkin's infield to plate Austin Blakeley, who doubled to deep left field to start the frame an at-bat before.
It was the game's final hit.
"Trey Cumbie is great," Weaver said. "Up there at the plate hitting, his stuff was filthy. He battled just like I did. You know, just a hit here and a hit there. It's a pretty great thing to beat the Lufkin Panthers because they're a great group of guys. I'm just glad we got the first notch."
Walker nearly recorded a second extra bases hit in the fifth inning, but Panthers center fielder Zac Thompson made an ESPN web gem caliber catch. Thompson fully extended while diving left into no man's land to preserve a one-run deficit.
Hallsville notched its second and final run in the top of the seventh.
With two outs and the bases loaded, Walker fell down and baited Lufkin catcher Tyler Abney into a throw at second base. That allowed Ryan Cole to come home while the Panthers struggled to catch Walker in a run down.
It wasn't an easy win for the Bobcats. There are no indications the next game will be any different.
The series resumes at 1 p.m. today inside Driller Park. If Lufkin wins that meeting, a decisive third game will follow 30 minutes later.
"The crowd was awesome tonight," Weaver said. "I kind of wanted in the last inning to tell them, 'Shh. Come on guys. I'm trying to focus here.' But they were pumped and I was pumped. This is a great feeling."
Class 5A Region II Regional Quarterfinal Baseball Playoffs
At Driller Park, Kilgore
Game 1 -- Hallsville 2, Lufkin 0
Hallsville 000 100 1 -- 2 3 1
Lufkin 000 000 0 -- 0 0 0
Pitchers and catchers
- Hallsville: Coby Weaver and Colton Oberthier
- Lufkin: Trey Cumbie and Tyler Abney
- WP -- Weaver
- LP -- Cumbie
- Hallsville: Austin Blakeley
- Hallsville: Jacob Walker