TYLER -- Lufkin's Saturday had already been pretty sour before a disastrous fifth inning in a must-win Game 3 versus Marshall.

The Panthers blew a two-run lead in the bottom of the seventh of the Class 5A bi-district playoff series' second game at Mike Carter Field and ultimately lost in 10 innings earlier in the day. Now, they were down 5-4 following a three-run bottom of the fifth.

Things needed to turn around quickly to avoid elimination in spite of a convincing Game 1 victory Friday.

Blake Lazarine, Haylen Green and Max Quick had answers in the sixth. The trio of Lufkin players combined for four RBIs through three at-bats -- supplementing four RBIs by senior left fielder Luke Rowley earlier in the contest -- to lead the Panthers to an 8-5, series clinching win in the best-of-three situation.

"They're resilient," Panthers head coach John Cobb said. "I am so proud of how came back, fought and competed there because we gave up a three-spot in the fifth. We came back and answered right there with a four-spot, which is huge. Any time you can answer somebody scoring in the playoffs on you, that's huge.

"I have to give a shoutout to the seniors for the way they kept their composure and kept everyone in the dugout in the game. They got us through that moment."

A backbreaking top of the sixth for Marshall (16-13) started on a one-out infield single by nine-hole hitter Ben Osgood. Jonathan Dewberry followed that up with a five-pitch walk before an infield hit by Rowley loaded the bases for Lufkin (20-7).

Lazarine tied the score with a liner over second base, plating Osgood in the process.

Green flew out to mid-left field and scored Dewberry for a 6-5 advantage.

Then Quick plopped one into shallow center field to push Rowley and Lazarine across the plate.

In Rowley's case, that was the end of a 3 for 3 playoff game and another appearance on the bags via a hit-by-pitch. Effectively a 4 for 4 outing.

"It was all about relaxing at the plate," Rowley said. "This was a big game. An elimination game. Just seeing the ball. They taught us to step out, breathe, relax your shoulders, and it worked out. We had good pitching and good defense backing us up."

Dillon McDuffie came in for starting pitcher Manuel Garcia to start the bottom sixth and knocked the Mavericks down in four at-bats. A throwing error prevented a perfect frame.

Marshall's Trel Patton hit a one-out triple in the bottom of the seventh, but the next two hitters popped out to third and struck out swinging to allow McDuffie a two-inning save.

The Mavericks strung together three opening hits in the fifth to set up their short-lived lead. From there, Kolten Roberson got down a two-out single to right field for two runs.

Cade Bickerdike closed scoring in the frame with a shot to mid-center field.

Marshall's fifth erased a two RBI double by Rowley in the fourth, which broke a 2-2 score.

Rowley opened scoring in the top of the second on a two-out, bases loaded single to the outfield for two runs. He then set himself into a pickle between first and second base so a third run could score, but the last remaining runner didn't take the hint and the inning ended.

Patton helped Marshall get a run back in its share of the second by stealing second base and advancing to third base after a throwing error from Osgood behind the plate. Ty Kirkland got Patton home with a long fly ball.

In the third, Mavericks starting pitcher Luke Johnson lined a shot through the middle gap with the bases loaded and plated Jake McMullen.

Lufkin and Marshall combined for five bases loaded situations through the seven-inning game. Both pitching staffs were at the end of their ropes.

In fact, Johnson started Game 3 for the Mavericks some 45 minutes after earning the win as a reliever in Game 2. Michael Crutcher and Nathan Hicks made patchwork relief appearances for Johnson's initial effort in the third and sixth innings, respectively, while Garcia gave Lufkin five complete innings on 88 pitches to set up McDuffie for his save.

Waxahachie awaits Lufkin in the area round of the playoffs. It hammered Dallas Adamson, the District 13-5A champion, to the tune of 12-0 Friday in a one-game playoff.

The two surviving teams did not have solid venue plans immediately following Lufkin's win, but both sides are weighing Mike Carter Field as an option.

"We were kind of down after the first game today," Rowley said. "We managed to flush it. We ate a Snickers, and we were back."

Lufkin 8, Marshall 5

Class 5A Bi-District Playoffs, Game 3
At Mike Carter Field, Tyler

Lufkin               020    204    0    --    8   10  1
Marshall           011    030    0    --    5     7   2

Pitchers and catchers
  • Lufkin: Manuel Garcia, Dillon McDuffie (6) and Ben Osgood
  • Marshall: Luke Johnson, Michael Crutcher (3), Nathan Hicks (6) and Cam Haller
  • WP -- Garcia
  • LP -- Hicks
  • -- McDuffie
Doubles
  • Lufkin: Luke Rowley
Triples
  • Marshall: Trel Patton

 

Mavericks center fielder Trel Patton hit a walk-off double to keep Marshall alive in Game 2 of the bi-district series.
Marshall Evened Series In Extra Innings

Trel Patton's RBI double in the 10th inning put the exclamation point on a come-from-behind performance in Game 2 of the series Saturday afternoon.

The multi-sport standout took a 2-2 fastball to the left-center gap in the outfield for a 4-3, Marshall walk-off victory. His hit allowed Nathan Hicks to be the winning run from second base.

Luke Johnson earned the win on the mound with three scoreless innings in relief.

Marshall faced a 3-1 deficit against Lufkin heading into potentially the final frame of its season three innings beforehand.

Ty Kirkland's full-count walk got the seventh inning rally started. Kolton Roberson followed up the good break with a ground ball too hot for Lufkin's shortstop to handle cleanly.

A throwing error from the Panthers' shortstop allowed Roberson to take second base while Kirkland advanced to third base with no outs recorded.

Cade Bickerdike's followup hit down the right field foul line allowed Kirkland to easily score. Roberson got waved around third base as well, and his contact against Lufkin catcher Connor Hanks at the plate dislodged the ball from Hanks' hand for the tie and extra innings.

Lufkin's Luke Rowley tripled in the third inning to open scoring. He knocked in Hanks, who recorded a leadoff double.

A sacrifice fly ball from Blake Lazarine allowed Rowley to get in for a 2-0 lead.

Marshall made it a 2-1 game in the fourth when Kirkland blooped a single to shallow left field with Cam Haller standing on third base.

Lufkin answered in the next frame when Dylan Murphy batted in Lazarine, who had tripled, to set up Marshall's seventh-inning obstacle.

Marshall 4, Lufkin 3 (10 Innings)

Class 5A Bi-District Playoffs, Game 2
At Mike Carter Field, Tyler

Lufkin               020    100    000  0    --    3      5    2
Marshall           000    100    200   1   --    4     10   1

Pitchers and catchers
  • Lufkin: Logan Lair, Kolten Eberlain (7) and Connor Hanks
  • Marshall: DeAndre McAffee, Luke Johnson (7) and Cam Haller
  • WP -- Johnson
  • LP -- Eberlain
Doubles
  • Lufkin: Hanks
  • Marshall: Trel Patton
Triples
  • Lufkin: Blake Lazarine, Luke Rowley