Jackets finish off Kennedale, get Sweetwater next

Courtesy PAM JONES

Flash Staff Report

(May 6, 2017) — Derek Gifford led off the eighth inning with a triple and scored the winning run on a Gatlin Wells single to send Stephenville past Kennedale with a two-game sweep of the 7-4A district champions in a Region I-4A bi-district baseball series.

The Yellow Jackets (21-7-2) advance to the area round to face Sweetwater after its 6-4 win at Kennedale in game two Saturday afternoon, which came on the heels of a 7-2 win in Stephenville Friday evening. Sweetwater beat Burkburnett 2-1 in a single bi-district game Saturday afternoon in Brock.

Gifford’s run on the RBI by Wells was followed with an RBI by Kade Averhoff to make it 6-4, and Luke Bullard shut down the Wildcats in the eighth to earn the win on the mound.

Bullard came on in relief after Caleb Smith struggled in the bottom of the seventh and was ultimately charged both runs as Kennedale erased a 4-2 deficit to force the extra inning. They were finishing a job started by Caleb Gibbons, who left standing to be winner after six innings.

Bullard drove in the game’s first run with a two-out single in the top of the second, and Gibbons worked around a bases-loaded jam in the bottom of the third. It was 2-0 after a Kennedale error and bad decision in the top of the third.

Kennedale got on the board in the fifth, but left two runners on the bases. Averhoff gave the Jackets some insurance with a two-run single in the top of the sixth. Both runs were unearned and made it 4-2 before the Kennedale comeback in the seventh.

Stephenville went 3-0 against Kennedale this season, also beating the Wildcats 13-8 as part of eight wins in 10 games to to begin the year. The Jackets have now made it through bi-district in each of Justin Swenson’s two seasons as head coach. They were eliminated by Decatur in the area round last year in a tough three-game series.

This Stephenville team rides a four-game win streak into the area round, beating Glen Rose 4-3 in the 8-4A district finale and Dublin 6-0 in a playoff warmup game before the sweep of Kennedale.

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