Farmersville 9, Howe 4

Last week after Howe had beaten Whitewright to improve to 3-0 in district play, and take a share of the league lead, Bulldog coach Heath Grant expressed some reservations about facing two of the top teams, Farmersville and Van Alstyne.

Those concerns proved to be justified on Tuesday night in Howe as the Farmers capitalized on several Bulldog miscues on the way to a 9-4 win.

Farmersville managed just five hits in the contest, but walks, stolen bases and those errors proved costly.

Howe jumped out to an early, 3-0 lead in the game as senior Brennan Ross continued his hot-hitting. Ross dropped a short hit just inside the left field foul line on the first pitch he saw from Farmersville starter Chase Hacker. Ross scored as sophomore Dyson Dillard rapped a two-base hit into the 8-9 gap in right center.

Dillard was erased on a fielder’s choice by junior Peyton Reagan, and senior Matt Griffin reached on a misplayed ball by the Farmersville outfield that scored Reagan. Griffin moved up when Tyler Grisham was hit by a pitch, and he eventually scored on the third Farmersville error of the inning.

Reagan deserved a better fate and he went four innings, giving up just one hit and two runs, neither of which was earned. He fanned five in those four innings.

The Farmers scored in the second as Caleb Twyford walked with two out, stole second, then scored on a Howe error.

Bulldog senior Jaden Matthews singled to open the Howe second inning and moved up on a ground out. He was left stranded as the Farmers worked out of that jam.

The visitors used two singles, a sacrifice fly and a hit batter to score two runs in the fifth, tying the game, 3-3.

Things went downhill quickly for Howe in the top of the sixth as the Farmers benefited from two walks, two stolen bases and a single to take a 6-3 lead. Sophomore Mason Riggs reached on a Farmersville error to open the Howe sixth, moved to third on a single to right by Matthews, and scored on an infield hit by Ross, making it a 6-4 game.

Farmersville added three more runs in the top of the seventh, all unearned, putting the Bulldogs in a 9-4 hole with just three outs remaining. Sophomore Bryce Krantz got a one-out single to center in the seventh and advanced to second on another Farmersville error.

The visitors choked off that rally, getting a pair of strikeouts to end the game.

The Bulldogs get to face Highway Five rival Van Alstyne on March 24 and Grant’s message is succinct.

“We have got to play better,” he said.