Written by SportsDayDFW.com
Baseball playoff roundup: Frisco Liberty rolls in Game 1; Arl. Martin, FM Marcus, L.D. Bell win series openers
FRISCO — Three weeks ago, Frisco Liberty was a first-time playoff qualifier.
Now, Liberty has a five-game playoff winning streak after Thursday’s 6-2 victory over Frisco Centennial in Game 1 of a best-of-3 Class 4A Region II quarterfinal series.
The No. 3 seed from District 9-4A, 6-year-old Liberty (23-9-2) lost a five-run lead in its playoff series opener against Forney. In its victory over 9-4A champion Centennial, Liberty never trailed.
“I chalk that first one up to never have been in the playoffs,” Liberty coach Scott McGarrh said. “I wouldn’t say we’re veterans. We still have mostly underclassmen. But we’ve picked up confidence. We respect Centennial as a dang good team, but we’re not afraid of them.”
Liberty took a 2-0 lead bottom of the first on a two-out RBI single from Brian Simpson and an RBI double by senior catcher Jacob Colombo.
Colombo also threw out a runner trying to steal. Colombo has thrown out 62 percent of the runners attempting to steal this season.
Colombo also prevented the tying run from scoring by blocking the plate on a throw home from second baseman JT VanGelder in the fifth.
“We only got eight first strikes to 31 batters, and we walked three and had five hit batters,” McGarrh said. “But we had players make key plays. All of our outfielders went back to make good plays. [Shortstop] Clay Crews and JT VanGelder at second were solid. Colombo makes a big difference in throwing out a runner like Tanner Gardner for them. We even had a courtesy runner, Tanner Acquisto, give us a big run.”
Liberty led 3-1 after Colombo singled and scored after infield singles from Robby Evans and Josh Ryan in the fourth.
Centennial (24-11) got one run in the second, then made it 3-2 in the top of the fifth when singles by Jacob Atchley and Sean Logan produced a run with the help of a two-base fielding error.
Liberty took a 5-2 lead in the fifth. Then Liberty built a four-run lead as VanGelder singled in a run in the sixth after Trey Johnson doubled and Austin Miller singled.
In other regional quarterfinals:
Arlington Martin 9, Keller Fossil Ridge 8: Matt Waller fell a triple short of hitting for the cycle, and Martin survived a big rally by Fossil Ridge to win Game 1 of a best-of-3 Region I series.
Waller finished 3-for-5 with two runs and two RBIs. He homered in the third inning to give Martin an 8-1 lead.
Anthony Lyons also homered for Martin, hitting a two-run shot as part of a five-run first inning. Lyons was 2-for-3 with two runs and three RBIs, and his sacrifice fly in the top of the seventh increased Martin’s lead to 9-4.
Kenniel Rivera led off the bottom of the seventh with a home run for Fossil Ridge, and Luis Rivas hit a three-run homer with no outs to make it 9-8. Fossil Ridge then got runners to first and second with one out but couldn’t push across the tying run.
Oklahoma signee Sheldon Neuse and Christian Hollie also homered for Fossil Ridge.
Flower Mound Marcus 6, Grapevine 4: Austyn Laird hit a three-run homer with two outs in the bottom of the sixth to rally Marcus in Game 1 of Region I series.
A two-out RBI single by Maverick Macy in the top of the sixth broke a 3-3 tie and gave Grapevine a 4-3 lead. Romero Greer was 3-for-3 for Marcus.
Hurst L.D. Bell 8, Colleyville Heritage 3: Caleb Rose drove in three runs as L.D. Bell — the No. 4 seed from District 6-5A — won Game 1 of a 5A Region I series.
Blake Henderson pitched a five-hitter for L.D. Bell, and Mason Peterson was 2-for-3 and scored two runs.
L.D. Bell scored five runs in the bottom of the first after the first two hitters were retired. Zack Plunkett and Chris Adams capped the inning with back-to-back RBI doubles.
After Colleyville Heritage got within 5-3, L.D. Bell scored three runs in the fifth — again after the first two batters made outs. Rose had the big blow with a bases-loaded double that drove in three.
Cleburne 6, Trophy Club Byron Nelson 3: Cleburne had to play a day after a tornado touched down Wednesday night. School was closed Thursday, but Cleburne started its Region I series.
Cleburne assistant coach Wayland White said that, as far as he knew, none of the players was injured by the tornado. Some of their homes suffered damage, he said, but nothing that couldn’t be repaired.
Argyle 9, Melissa 8: Argyle took advantage of five walks to score four runs in the sixth inning for the Game 1 victory. Argyle trailed, 5-1, before scoring four runs in the fifth and four more in the sixth.
Staff writer Matt Wixon contributed to this report.