Written by SportsDayDFW.com
Baseball playoffs: Alert baserunning helps Plano edge Klein Collins, 5-4, to advance; FM Marcus, Argyle move on
WACO — Plano coach Rick Robertson kept circling his arm as his son, senior Ryan Robertson, kept circling the bases from first to score the winning run on an infield single and error in the bottom of the seventh inning for a 5-4 victory over Klein Collins in Game 3 of a Class 5A Region II semifinal series Saturday.
Ryan Robertson scored the second run as Mitchell Hansen topped a grounder for an infield single with A.J. Liu on second and Robertson on first with one out. Collins’ pitcher stumbled as he picked up the ball and tossed it over the first baseman’s head. Liu scored easily to tie the score, but Robertson’s slide at the plate led to a pause of dead silence before the umpire signaled safe.
“I peeked over my shoulder and saw the ball sailing,” Ryan said. “Then I looked at dad, the third base coach, and knew I had to make it. I had it beat. I saw [the play at home]. The catcher was on the right side, and I got the top of the plate.”
Rick Robertson said it was a calculated risk.
“We already had the tying run, and I thought if I don’t send him and the ball bounces away, I’ll regret it the rest of my life,” Rick Robertson said. “I was [waving my arm] and trying to see where the ball was. I didn’t really see where Ryan was until I turned and saw him touch the bag. We play aggressive. We are going to get some thrown out, but we want to think about scoring.”
A shortstop, Ryan first moved up to the varsity late in his freshman year as a courtesy runner for a Plano team which reached the regional semifinals in 2009. Ryan has been anchoring the infield the last three years.
By winning the best-of-3 series, two games to one, Plano (30-11-1) advanced to play Humble Atascocita in the regional final.
Plano saw a 3-0 lead turn into a 4-3 deficit after Collins scored one run in the third, two in the fifth and one in the top of the seventh. Collins could have taken a larger lead in the seventh were it not for three big defensive plays by catcher Michael Davis, who scrambled 15 yards to catch a pop foul, threw out a runner trying to steal third and blocked the plate to stop another run as Hansen threw a line drive from right field to get the final out of the inning.
Hansen, a junior committed to Stanford, and Davis hit RBI singles to give Plano a 2-0 lead in the bottom of the first. Quinn Waterbury scored after doubling to give Plano a 3-0 lead in the bottom of the second.
Collins took the lead in the top of the seventh as Ricky Urbano doubled in the go-ahead run for Collins (28-11), ranked No. 10 in the state. In the bottom of the seventh with one out, Liu reached on a walk and Robertson was hit by a pitch to bring up Hansen as the No. 4 hitter.
“We haven’t been down much in the playoffs,” Ryan Robertson said. “We had No. 1 through 3 hitters coming up. We were confident. This is the way third games are.”
Humble Atascocita 4, Rockwall-Heath 3: Ethan Klosterboer hit a series-winning sacrifice fly in the bottom of the seventh that scored Ryan Wadkins as Atascocita won Game 3 of the best-of-3 5A Region II semifinal series. It came after Atascocita (29-8-1) loaded the bases with one out on two singles and a fielder’s choice on which Heath couldn’t get an out.
Rockwall-Heath (32-9) was six outs from elimination, trailing 3-2 after five innings. But the state’s third-ranked team tied it with a run in the top of the sixth on a two-out RBI single by Kelly Dorsett that scored Dylan Brown.
A two-out, two-run double by Trey Millender in the second inning gave Rockwall-Heath a 2-1 lead. But Atascocita took a 3-2 lead with two runs in the fourth.
Flower Mound Marcus 4-11, Midland 5-0: Tyler Boertje was 4-for-4 with four RBIs as Marcus crushed Midland, 11-0, in five innings in Game 3 of the best-of-3 5A Region I semifinal series.
Josh Ringsdorf was 2-for-3 with four RBIs for Marcus (32-8), the state’s seventh-ranked team, and Michael Wheeler was 2-for-3 with three RBIs. Ethan Nichols pitched a four-hit shutout and was helped by an offense that scored five runs in both the fourth and fifth innings.
Marcus was two outs from sweeping the series, leading 4-3 with one out in the bottom of the seventh in Game 2 of the series earlier Saturday. But with a runner on second, TCU signee Austen Wade hit a walk-off, two-run, inside-the-park home run to give Midland a 5-4 win.
Marcus had a 3-0 lead before Midland tied it with three runs in the bottom of the third. Marcus regained the lead, 4-3, in the top of the fifth on a two-out RBI single by Romero Greer that scored Jared Bogosian. Bogosian was 2-for-3 and scored two runs.
Hallsville 3, Frisco Liberty 2: Frisco Liberty survived six playoff elimination games, including two decided by a run, in its advancement to Game 3 of the Class 4A Region II semifinals.
One run was the difference again Saturday, but this time it was Liberty losing to Hallsville.
Liberty (32-10) never led, but it stayed within striking distance thanks to a solid performance by pitcher Michael Cantrell (6-1). The senior went the distance, allowing three hits and one walk.
Hallsville coach Scott Mitchell turned to Colton Brasher, a junior left-hander without a varsity start since March. Brasher gave Hallsville five strong innings, allowing five hits and one earned run.
Connor Reich, Hallsville’s Game 1 winner, worked the final two scoreless, but eventful innings to earn a save.
Down a run, Liberty put two on with one out in the sixth, but Reich alertly stepped off the mound and nabbed a Redhawks runner darting for third.
Reich was in a jam again in the seventh. A leadoff single by Mario Quintanilla followed by sacrifice bunt and a wild pitch put the tying run at third with one out. Reich, a TCU signee, got a strikeout for the second out and then hit Austin Miller with a pitch. With the series-winning run at first, Reich got a strikeout to end it.
Hallsville (32-4) grabbed a 1-0 lead in the top of the first on a triple by Jacob Walker followed by Reich’s RBI groundout. Judd Presley and Jake Akin put singles together in the second inning, leading to Liberty’s tying run.
Hallsville scored twice in the third to make it 3-1 on a leadoff walk and singles by Macailyn Wilder, Reich and Austin Blakeley.
Liberty closed to 3-2 in the fifth. Quintanilla, who led Liberty with two hits, singled and moved to third on an infield hit by Miller. A wild pitch accounted for the run.
Brasher, a 5-9, 160-pounder, had only 12 hours notice that he would be the Bobcats’ starter.
“It took awhile for me to get to sleep,” he said. “I got about five or six hours, but there was a lot of tossing and turning.”
Mitchell praised his team’s play under pressure, but also had good words for Liberty: “They are an incredible group and they are going to battle on every pitch. I knew it was going to be this kind of series.”
Hallsville advanced to meet the Prosper-Mansfield Legacy winner for the regional championship.
Liberty loses 15 seniors, five of them starters.
“This was the grittiest team we’ve had,” Liberty coach Scott McGarrh said. “This group never thought they were going to lose.”
Argyle 2, Texarkana Pleasant Grove 1: Pleasant Grove was three outs from knocking Argyle out of the playoffs, but Argyle scored two runs in the top of the seventh to win Game 3 of the best-of-3 3A Region II semifinal series.
The win sent Argyle (29-9-1) to the regional final for the third time in school history, and the Eagles will face Paris North Lamar. For the first time in seven years, Pleasant Grove will not reach the state tournament. And for the first time in three playoff meetings, the Eagles finally got the better of the Hawks.
In the bottom of the sixth, Pleasant Grove (25-12) scored the game’s first run. Two errors and a single by Jacob Bennett allowed Pleasant Grove to give pitcher Jarod Bayless a 1-0 lead going into the top of the seventh.
Argyle’s Ryley Balch hit a leadoff single in the seventh, and a sacrifice bunt and two Pleasant Grove errors allowed Argyle pinch-runner Spencer Cullen to tie the score. Two batters later, Argyle pitcher Drew Gooch softly planted a sacrifice bunt down the third-base line to score Cutter McDonald for the go-ahead run.
Gooch, a TCU signee who picked up a save in Game 1 of the series, got the win Saturday to improve to 8-0. Pleasant Grove had a runner on second with two outs in the seventh and Joe Pearlman at the plate. Pearlman hit a groundball near first base and stepped on the base a split-second after Gooch got his foot on the bag to end the Hawks’ season.