By BRAD KEITH
STEPHENVILLE (May 19, 2017) — After not being able to capitalize on opportunities against Bobby Goodloe and No. 7 Godley on Thursday, Stephenville faces elimination in game two of the Region I-4A quarterfinal series, starting at 4 p.m. Friday at Brock.
The Yellow Jackets (23-8-2) had only one base hit with a runner already on base Thursday, a first inning single by Derek Gifford with Seth Heupel already aboard via the only walk issued by Goodloe, who pitched a complete-game shutout and also tripled before scoring the only run in a 1-0 win by the Wildcats (25-3-1).
Heupel and Gifford were ultimately stranded at third and second in the top of the first, and Goodloe scored the only Godley run in the bottom of the first.
Stephenville also had runner at third with two outs in the top of the seventh before a groundout ended the game with Godley winning its 11th straight. It was the closest game of that stretch for the Wildcats, who had won all of their previous 10 at least three runs.
Easton Jones takes the mound with plans of saving Stephenville from elimination and forcing a game three, which is scheduled for 1 p.m. Saturday at Brock if necessary.
Jones is 2-0 in the playoffs with a complete-game effort in a 10-5 game one win over Sweetwater in last week’s area round and 12 strikeouts just before a 54 minute power outage at James T. Young Field ended his night in a 7-2 win over Kennedale in game one of bi-district.
Stephenville swept each of those series, making Friday the first time the Jackets will face elimination. Second-year head coach Justin Swenson fell to 9-3 in the playoffs at Stephenville Thursday.
The Jackets and Wildcats each had six hits in the pitchers’ duel. Caleb Gibbons was solid all day for Stephenville, working around jams and keeping Stephenville in it before leaving with two runners on after 5.1 innings. Caleb Smith came in and prevented any further damage with a strikeout on a wicked off-peed breaking ball before getting a groundout to end the last Godley at bat.
Godley has its choice of pitchers after Goodloe went the distance. If Brett Brown pitches, Goodloe likely moves to shortstop. They could also turn to Chase Lummus, and when he has started Brown has played shortstop with Goodloe moving to second base. Brown is a senior who has been verbally committed to Texas A&M since he was a sophomore. Lummus, a sophomore now, has verbally committed to Texas.
The winner of the series meets Midland Greenwood or Pampa in the regional semifinals next week.