Howe 3, Commerce 2 (8)
After big wins over playoff-bound teams from the district, Howe struggled to score runs against Commerce at home on April 4, pushing across the winner in the bottom of the eighth and improving its league record to 6-1.
The Bulldogs banged out 16 hits in the contest, getting runners on in every inning but had to work overtime to get the narrow win.
Howe senior Tanner Hartsfield gave up just five hits in six and 1/3 innings of work.
The visitors took an early 2-0 lead, scoring those runs in the top of the first on a hit batter and back-to-back singles.
A second inning leadoff double by Tiger outfielder Hill was erased by a double play, and the visitors never seriously threatened for the remainder of the game.
The Bulldogs were a threat in every inning, but until the third, they were held scoreless.
Senior Brennan Ross singled to open the inning, but was erased on a fielder’s choice that put sophomore Dyson Dillard on base. He scored after back-to-back infield hits by senior Matt Griffin and Hartsfield, cutting the Tiger lead to just one.
Howe got two hits in the fourth and fifth innings, but could not punch across the needed run.
After a Commerce hit in the second inning, Hartsfield retired the next eight batters before an error allowed another Tiger base runner.
The Bulldogs tied the contest in the bottom of the sixth.
Sophomore Mason Riggs doubled to left field and hits by seniors Tyler Grisham and Jaden Matthews produced the tying run as Riggs scored on the Matthews hit.
After one out in the Commerce seventh inning, two Tiger hits ended the night for Hartsifield, as Griffin came on in relief. He fanned two to end the threat.
In the eighth, Ross had his second single of the game and a walk to Dillard, followed by a single by junior Peyton Reagan, loaded the bases.
Griffin ended the drama, lifting a sacrifice fly to right field, scoring Ross with the walk-off run.
Riggs had three hits in four trips, with a double.
Ross, Dillard, Griffin, Hartsfield, Grisham and Matthews each had two hits in the contest.
Griffin gets the win in relief, giving up just one hit and striking out four in his 1 and 2/3 innings of work.
The Bulldogs make the dreaded Lone Oak trip on April 7.