Farmersville 3, Howe 1

Howe sophomore pitcher Mason Riggs made two mistakes in the Bulldogs’ game at Farmersville on April 14 and both wound up out of the park as the Farmers beat Howe 3-1 to edge closer to a district title.

Senior Chase Hacker hit a two-run shot in the bottom of the first and went yard again in the sixth. He also held the Bulldogs to just four hits, none after the leadoff batter in the Howe fifth.

“You got to give them credit — their guy pitched a really good game today and we couldn’t put anything together to get back at him,” Howe head coach Heath Grant said.

After the Bulldogs had gone down in order to open the game on a windy afternoon, Farmersville jumped out to the early lead in the bottom half of the frame.

Senior catcher Lyle Hibbitts reached on a Howe error and Hacker send a high pitch over the wall in left center to get the Farmers off to a 2-0 start.

The Bulldogs came right back in the second to get on the scoreboard.

Senior Matt Griffin lined an 0-2 pitch into right field for the visitors’ first hit of the game. He was erased as senior Tanner Hartsfield reached on a fielder’s choice.

Senior Tyler Grisham was another two-strike swinger, lining a ball into right field to advance Hartsfield to second.

Both runners moved up on a Farmersville error and senior Jaden Matthews plated Hartsfield with an infield hit deep into the six hole.

Hacker retired seven of the next eight Bulldog batters he faced, giving up a third inning walk to sophomore Dyson Dillard.

Riggs was hanging tough on the mound for the Bulldogs, getting a fly-ball out on Ryan Durbin after falling behind 3-0 in the count.

A single to left field by Hibbitts was erased as Hacker rolled over a high pitch, grounding into a 5-4-3 double-play to end the inning.

Farmersville had runners on in the fourth and fifth innings, but base running mistakes, and the Bulldog defense, kept them off the board.

Riggs threw out a runner at the plate in the fourth and Dillard, the Howe catcher, caught a Farmersville runner off the bag in the fifth to end that inning.

Matthews ended Hacker’s streak in the Howe fifth with a leadoff hit that handcuffed the Farmersville third baseman, and the speedy senior legged it out for his second hit of the contest.

After taking a pitch, center fielder Brennan Ross was intentionally walked with one out after Matthews’ hit, a play that coach Grant questioned.

With two out, junior Peyton Reagan hit a hard shot down the third base side, but it ws snagged by the Farmersville player to end that threat.

Howe hit the ball hard several times over the final two innings, but to no avail.

The only base runner was Hartsfield who was hit by a pitch in the sixth.

With one out in the bottom of the siixth, Hacker went deep again, boosting the Farmers lead to 3-1, and that’s how it ended.

Howe is 7-3 in district play, with a one-game lead over Leonard and Whitewright for second.

“We just have to take care of business these next two games and we can lock up second place in the district,” Grant said. “It’s all in our hands.”

After hosting Van Alstyne in part two of the Highway 5 rivalry, Leonard will come to Howe on April 25 for a senior night final.