MARSHALL -- The Mavericks took another step toward not only qualifying for the state baseball playoffs for the first time in five years but plausibly winning the coveted District 15-5A crown Friday.

An 8-4 victory against Longview helped keep Marshall in striking distance of Hallsville and Sulphur Springs with four games to play.

"Every time you step out on the field in this district, it's going to be a battle," head coach Derek Dunaway said as the song 'Takin' Care of Business' blared out at Maverick Field. "There's great coaches and great players. We just have to go out there and play our baseball."

Leadoff hitter Trel Patton steals third base in the first inning of Marshall's win. Patton subsequently scored. (Mark Martin, ETSN.fm)

Dunaway's offensive philosophies shined against the club's chief rival. His squad took 14 bases on steals and opposing defensive gaffes.

The winning run came home in the bottom second on a wild pitch. But only after the runner took second and third base while Longview (5-11-1, 3-7) tried to recover from an errant pickoff throw.

It came an at-bat after Marshall (14-4, 7-3) scored with a double steal.

In fact, all eight Mavericks runs were set up with runners taking at least one base without contact at the plate. The team only recorded four RBIs.

"The numbers don't really surprise me," left fielder Rich McFarland said. "Every chance they messed up, we were ready for it."

McFarland batted 2-for-3 with 2 RBIs and scored once. He also drew a walk and closed the game from the mound.

Longview had its moments, too.

Center fielder Dezmond Chumley recorded his first career home run with two outs in the first inning to give the Lobos an early lead. Mikey Thompson recaptured the lead in the second with an RBI single after Marshall five-hole hitter Luke Johnson plated leadoff hitter Trel Patton.

The Mavericks scored four runs with two outs in the bottom second.

Nine-hole hitter Nathan Hicks got it started by taking a pitch to the body and then stole second base. Patton singled a second time, Catcher Cameron Haller batted in Hicks, Patton reached home on the double steal, Haller got in via a fielding error and McFarland scored on a wild pitch.

Marshall upped its lead to 6-2 in the third frame. Johnson came home on a wild pitch.

Right fielder Tylan Miller helped Longview back into the game with a run scored in the fifth inning and an RBI in the sixth, but McFarland hit a two RBI grounder up the middle gap in the bottom sixth.

Dez Chumley hits a solo homer to left-center field in the top of the first. The score gave Longview a brief 1-0 lead. (Mark Martin, ETSN.fm)

Chumley doubled in the seventh. The next three Lobos went down on fly outs against McFarland.

Starting pitcher DeAndre McAffee earned the win with seven hits allowed, two surrendered walks and seven strikeouts through six complete innings.

"We worked together really well," McFarland said. "We took what they gave us, the errors that they gave us. They made a bunch of errors and we scored runs against that. Quality at-bats really got us through the night."

Hallsville, the league leader, defeated Mount Pleasant to remain first in the standings. It faces Sulphur Springs on Tuesday and closes the season against three teams currently out of the playoff picture.

Sulphur Springs defeated Greenville to keep a game ahead of Marshall in the battle for second place. However, Greenville entered Friday in sole possession of fourth place and its loss gave the Mavericks a two-game cushion for third place.

Texas High defeated Pine Tree in nine innings to draw even with the Pirates. Both teams have 4-6 records and are a game behind Greenville for the final playoff spot.

Longview fell a game behind those two squads.

Mount Pleasant's loss against Hallsville eliminated it from postseason contention.

Longview next hosts Texas High at 7 p.m. Tuesday.

Marshall will host Greenville at 7 p.m. Tuesday and closes the regular season with Texas High, Mount Pleasant and Sulphur Springs. It defeated all four teams in the first round of district play.

"This win gives us room to breathe," Haller said. "We plan on playing good ball and hopefully we'll keep winning."

Marshall's Trel Patton takes second base after an errant pickoff throw to first base. (Mark Martin, ETSN.fm)

Marshall 8, Longview 4

District 15-5A Baseball
At Maverick Field

Longview              110    011   0    --    4   7    3
Marshall                141    002   X    --    8   6    2

Pitchers and catchers
  • Longview: Will Bradshaw, Luke Taylor (3) and Mikey Thompson, Michael Goolsby (6)
  • Marshall: DeAndre McAffee, Rich McFarland (7) and Cameron Haller

WP -- McAffee
LP -- Bradshaw

Doubles
  • Longview: Dezmond Chumley
  • Marshall: Jake McMullen
Home Runs
  • Longview: Chumley