Top-Ranked Douglass Scores 3-0 Win Over Harleton in Game 1
KILGORE -- The top-ranked Douglass Indians got all of their scoring and all but one of their hits in one inning, but thanks to the pitching performance of Grant Holland, that's all that mattered.
Holland scattered five hits in seven shutout innings, leading Douglass to a 3-0 win over Harleton in Game 1 of their Class A Region III semifinal playoff series Thursday night at Driller Park.
The series resumes with Game 2 at 5 p.m. Friday back in Kilgore with a third game, if necessary, to immediately follow.
Douglass (28-1) also had 1-0 lead on Harleton in last season's regional semifinal playoff matchup, but was forced to a third game after dropping Game 2. Indians coach Eugene Lafitte had a simple message for his players after Thursday's series opener.
"Finish. Finish it," he said.
The winner of the series will get either defending state champion Carlisle or Evadale, who play a one-game playoff Friday night in Lufkin, next week in the regional finals.
Holland pitched in and out of jams through the game's first three innings, but finished strong by retiring 10 of the last 12 batters he faced, including the final seven of the game in order. He struck out five and issued two walks, needing 95 pitches for the complete-game shutout.
"Super job," Lafitte said of Holland's performance. "Four pitches and he threw them all around the plate. I can't ask for anything else out of the sophomore."
Douglass did all of its damage in the second inning as the first three batters of the inning reached and eventually came around to score.
Bryce Westbrook began with a bloop single to shallow right and moved to third on Brandon Stanfield's double down the left-field line. Hunter Lee followed with an RBI single to short left, and after a sacrifice bunt by Trenton Carrigan, Logan Ammons beat out an infield hit to push across the second run of the inning. The next batter, Taylor Schroeder, grounded out to short to give Douglass a 3-0 lead.
"They had their ace on the mound and we got some timely hits and got three runs in one inning," Lafitte said. "We couldn't capitalize on a few others, but it's important to win Game 1 in any series."
Harleton had its chances in the first and second innings. With two outs and runners at first and second in the opening frame, Matt Bullock singled through the right side, but Ammons' throw from right field was in plenty of time to nail Levi Pilkington at the plate.
The Wildcats threatened again in the second when Jacob Earle reached on an infield single, moved to second on a Cody Fregia sac bunt and advanced to third with one out on a wild pitch. But Holland got out of trouble by striking out Josh Ready and getting Will Davis to ground out to third.
Douglass 3, Harleton 0
Class A Region III Semifinal Playoff Series -- Game 1
At Driller Park, Kilgore
Harleton 000 000 0 -- 0 5 0
Douglass 030 000 x -- 3 6 0
Pitchers and catchers
- Harleton: Taylor Henson and Jacob Earle.
- Douglass: Grant Holland and Brandon Stanfield.
WP -- Holland.
LP -- Henson.
- Douglass: Stanfield.