Written by SportsDayDFW.com
Lovejoy rallies past Eagles in opener
FRISCO — In the first game of Argyle’s regional quarterfinal against Lovejoy on Thursday night, two swings erased everything.
The three-run lead was gone. The quality pitching performance by Drew Gooch was gone. And the victory that was an out away from being secured — gone.
Lovejoy blasted two home runs off Argyle pitcher Seth Jones in the bottom of the seventh inning to pick up a 6-5 victory in Game 1 of the Class 3A Region II quarterfinal. With Lovejoy down to its final out, Dusty Stone sent a ball over the center-field wall for the walk-off victory.
“I was just like, ‘Oh man, here comes the dogfight, just like last year,’” Argyle’s Austin Aune said when he saw the game-winner.
Aune was referring to last season, when Argyle swept Lovejoy in the regional semifinals. Even though Lovejoy did not win a game against the Eagles last year, the Leopards lost both contests by a combined three runs.
As rain sprinkled down following the game, a frustrated Argyle bunch did not say much in its dugout.
Argyle’s bats chirped continuously through the game. The Eagles (25-10) had four extra-base hits against Lovejoy starting pitcher Bryce Jones, including a two-run homer by Layton Lowry in the third inning.
“That’s as good as we’ve played,” Argyle head coach Ricky Griffin said. “I thought we swung it as good as can swing it, and I thought we got as good a pitching performance as we could have got.”
Gooch, who threw 96 pitches and picked up the no-decision, provided Argyle with a strong outing on the mound. He lasted six innings, allowed two earned runs and struck out five batters, and left the game with a 5-2 lead.
The freshman worked his way through a couple of sticky situations on Thursday night. In the fifth inning, Lovejoy had runners on first and second with nobody out. Gooch went on to induce two fly outs before fanning Jackson Luce to end the inning.
Griffin, who said he wasn’t going to extend the young pitcher into the seventh, called Gooch’s performance a confidence builder.
“He’s probably not happy he didn’t get the win, but I hope it does a lot for him,” Griffin said. “Knowing that he’s a freshman, and that we have him for three more years, that’s a real positive thing for us.”
The loss puts the Eagles in a familiar situation. Argyle, the District 9-3A champions, found itself in a 1-0 hole against Prosper in the area round of the playoffs. The Eagles battled back to win games 2 and 3 to extend their postseason run.
Griffin said he took solace in the fact that his team had a much better opening game against Lovejoy (26-6) than it did in its only loss to Prosper. Still, Griffin said it will be hard to get over Thursday’s devastating loss.
“That was kind of taken away from us quick,” Griffin said.
Lovejoy 6, Argyle 5
WP — Zack Hobgood. LP — Seth Jones. 2B — A: Pat Vickery, Trent Cantrell, Dillon Harp. L: Jace Melby, Tyler Provence. HR — A: Layton Lowry. L: Jace Melby, Dusty Stone. Records — Argyle (25-10), Lovejoy (26-6).