TEXARKANA, Texas — Texas High built its lead and thwarted two late Ennis bids to comeback as the Lions had in the opener.
The Tigers held leads of 4-1 and 8-2, and despite giving up three runs in the sixth, left the bases full of Lions in the sixth and seventh innings to win Game 2 of the Class 5A area series, 8-5, Friday at Tiger Field.
The rubber game will be today at noon at McKinney Boyd High School.
The winner advances to the regional quarterfinals against the winner of the Nacogdoches-Corsicana series.
Nathan Steele picked up the pitching win, lasting 5 2-3 innings. He fanned five, walked six, hit one, scattered five hits and surrendered five runs. Zane Dodson pitched 2-3 of an inning, and Rian Cellers came in with the bases loaded and one out to nail down the save.
The Lions scored in the first after a pair of first-inning walks. Colton Daniell singled to center to drive in a run, and Colton Jackson attempted to score on an overthrow at third. However, third baseman Sawyer Pritchard played the carom off the brick wall in front of the dugout, and he easily threw out out Jackson at the plate.
In the bottom of the first, Ben DePriest legged out an infield single to lead off the inning. A wild pitch sent him to second, and with two outs, he stole third. Jackson Halter delivered a soft line diver to shallow left to tie the game.
Dodson extended the inning with a single on a high chopper to third, but a pop up to the mound left the score knotted.
The Tigers loaded the bases with one out in the second inning but were unable to capitalize.
In the third, Texas High loaded the bases with no outs on a walk, Dodson's liner to center and Luke Smith's bunt single. A come-backer turned into a double play as the batter was called out due to an interference call at the plate.
Nate Mennie beat out an infield single to break the tie score, and Caden Miller, the No. 9 batter in the lineup, continued his hot streak with a two-run double off the wall in right-center field to make him 6 for 6 with three doubles and four RBI at that point in the series.
Steele retired the Lions' side in order in the second, stranded a pair of runners in scoring position in the third, and gave up a run in the fourth on a pair of walks, a stolen base and a wild pitch to make it 4-2 THS.
In the Tigers' half of the fourth, Cellers walked to start the frame. Halter beat out an infield single, and a fielder's choice left runners at first and second with two outs.
Steele lined a single to center to drive in a run, and Steele advanced to second on the throw home. As the same play continued, Ennis' catcher threw to second in an attempt to get Steele, but the throw went into the outfield, allowing Smith to walk across the plate and Steele to come racing home without another throw, making it 7-2.
Mennie kept the rally by reaching on an error. He was wild-pitched to second and took third on a throwing error when the catcher overthrew the pitcher on a throwback. Mennie scored on a wild pitch before Miller's single to left. Miller finished the game 3 for 4 with a double and two RBI.
Another error put two on before a deep flyout to center ended the big inning with the Tigers up six runs.
Ennis got the bases loaded with two outs in the sixth on a pair of walks and hit batsmen. Jeremiah Sanchez lined a two-run single to right to make it 8-4, and Lorenzo Leila singled to center to cut the deficit to three.
Another walk loaded the bags, again, but Dodson induced a grounder to shortstop to end the rally and preserve the three-run advantage. He hit a batter and walked a pair after a strikeout to start the seventh, and Cellers got a strikeout and flyout to end the game.