LINDALE -- Laettner Grennhill threw a two-hit shutout and helped keep the Eagles alive in the chase for District 16-5A's second playoff seed Tuesday at the Lindale I.S.D. Baseball Complex.

Greenhill and Lindale at large accomplished the feat with 104 pitches in a 4-0 win against Lufkin, allowing four walks to six strikeouts in the process.

"It's a huge win for us because we're chasing them right now," Greenhill said. "To get out of here with a complete game shutout is huge for me. It's awesome."

Eagles catcher Kam Neely runs out a throw to first base to lead off a two-run second inning.

Lufkin (17-6, 8-2) fell a second league game behind Corsicana. The Eagles (14-6, 7-3) gained a game against the Panthers with two league contests remaining for each team.

Corsicana beat Whitehouse, the last team currently in the district playoff picture, 5-1 elsewhere to clinch a share of the district title in a worst-case scenario thanks to Lindale's win.

Bryce Duepree got things going for the Eagles on the second pitch in the bottom of the first with a hit down the left field foul line. Jamey Rainey lined a hit to shallow center field the next pitch before three-hole hitter Brad Burckel reached base on a sacrifice bunt three tosses later.

Center fielder Kollin McCartney's sacrifice hit two at-bats afterward allowed Duepree to get home before Lufkin closed the first frame.

Lindale's second inning at the plate followed a similar format.

Kam Neely lined through the left gap to lead off the sequence and Joe Santangelo got hit by a pitch to put two men on with no one out.

Preston Mize's bunt advanced the duo and Duepree's follow up bunt straight ahead forced Lufkin to play the out at first base rather than Neely as the run.

Richey chipped a ball into shallow center field with two outs and Santangelo at third base to give the Eagles a 3-0 advantage.

Neely got his second straight hit to lead off the fourth, stole second base and reached third base with a Santangelo bunt. Preston Mize knocked him in with a long fly ball to the left field warning track to close scoring.

All of the runs came home before Lufkin threw pitch No. 43.

Lindale recorded seven hits in the game and placed 10 runners on the bags in total.

Lufkin successfully stopped the scoring with relievers Christian Stephens in the fifth and Dillon McDuffie in the sixth, but only McDuffie recorded a perfect inning for the losing side all game.

"We stepped in the box ready to hit one through nine," Eagles coach Rich Sanguinetti said. "You like to see kids work counts, but we executed and got bunts down when we needed to. We did a good job getting runners on base with less than two outs. We were ready to hunt the fastball first pitch, and that's what we got."

Laettner Greenhill threw six strikeouts while allowing four walks and two hits against Lufkin.

Meanwhile, Greenhill cruised through the fifth with five strikeouts to one hit and two walks allowed.

Things got interesting for the winning pitcher in the top of the sixth after recording a 3-1 putout against Lufkin's first batter. He threw 10 straight balls, placing Jonathon Dewberry and Luke Rowley aboard.

Dewberry advanced to third base by way of a wild pitch for runners at the corners.

Greenhill's 11th toss of the sequence turned into a high foul ball. Burckel, from his spot at shortstop, ran in and caught the foul against the third base dugout.

Lufkin flew out the very next pitch and then went down in order in the seventh to end the game.

"It was a huge win for us," Greenhill said. "They spanked us at their place. We wanted to get them back and show them we're a better team."

The Panthers don't have a district game Friday, but they will keep fresh with a 2p.m. non-district meeting against The Woodlands on Saturday. From there, they'll close the league schedule against Corsicana and Jacksonville.

Lindale hosts Nacogdoches at 7 p.m. Friday and closes its district slate at Whitehouse seven days later.

"Lufkin is a really good ball team," Sanguinetti said. "I told our kids this was a playoff type atmosphere. I think they realize that if we play our game that we can win. That just carries over into our next few games and then into the playoffs."

Lindale third baseman Joe Santangelo starts a 5-4-3 double play in the fifth inning of the 4-0 Eagles win.

Lindale 4, Lufkin 0

District 16-5A
At Lindale I.S.D. Baseball Complex

Lufkin          000    000    0    --    0    2   0
Lindale        120    100    X    --    4   7    1

Pitchers and catchers
  • Lufkin: Kolten Eberlan, Christian Stephens (5), Dillon McDuffie (6) and Ben Osgood
  • Lindale: Laettner Greenhill and Kam Neely
  • WP -- Greenhill
  • LP -- Eberlan
  • Lindale: Burckel