Howe 6, Van Alstyne 1
For a few hours on March 24 Forrest Moore Park in Van Alstyne may have become one of Grayson County’s biggest parking lots.
Baseball and softball fans from Howe descended on the site, joining loyal Panther fans for the first diamond meeting of these two Highway 5 rivals this season, and those from Howe went home happy.
The Bulldog baseball team capitalized on six Van Alstyne errors on the way to a 6-1 win, improving its District 10-3A record to 4-1.
Howe pitchers sophomore Mason Riggs and senior Matt Griffin held the Panthers to just a pair of hits in the contest.
Riggs, the starter, pitched four and 1/3 innings, giving up the lone Van Alstyne run in the bottom of the fifth inning. He struck out five.
Griffin worked the final two and 2/3, striking out three. He gave up two walks and a single in the bottom of the sixth inning, working out of that bases loaded jam without any scoreboard damage.
Howe got off to a 2-0 start with a one-out walk to sophomore Dyson Dillard starting the rally.
Dillard advanced on a single by junior Peyton Reagan and both runners scored on a pair of Van Alstyne errors on a ball hit by Griffin.
Van Alstyne had runners at second and third with two out in the second inning, but freshman Sam Tormos was caught stealing at home plate to end the threat.
The Bulldogs added a run in the fourth as sophomore Spencer Akins drew a one-out walk. He advanced to second on a Brennan Ross single and scored on another Van Alstyne miscue.
The Bulldogs scored three in the fifth, bumping their lead to 6-0. Reagan got his second hit of the game to lead off the frame. He moved up on a ground out, and advanced to third on a double by senior Tyler Grisham. Regan scored on a passed ball.
After a walk to Riggs, and a Panther error, Akins hit a hard shot to third that was misplayed, and Grisham and Riggs both scored on the bobble.
Van Alstyne sophomore Chandler David singled to center field to open the bottom of the fifth and junior Tyler Neshyba walked.
With one out, junior Jordan Velekei walked to load the bases.
Sophomore Nathan Cuthbertson came on as a courtesy runner for Neshyba and sophomore Cam Montgomery was running for Velekei.
Junior Chase Wilson grounded into a fielder’s choice that scored David, moving Cutherberterson to third.
Griffin, on in relief, got the final out to limit the damage to just that single run.
Griffin walked two and gave up a two-out single to Neshyba in the Van Alstyne sixth inning, but worked out of that bases loaded jam with a fly ball out to left field.
Griffin put down the Panthers with a 1-2-3, seventh inning to preserve the Bulldog win and create one of the biggest traffic jams in Grayson County on this night.
After a Tuesday game in Leonard, Van Alstyne will close out the first half of league play with a March 31 trip to Commerce.
The Bulldogs have an open date on the schedule for March 28 and will close out the first round with a trip to Leonard on Friday.