Pottsboro 4, Van Alstyne 2
A loss to Howe last week in a tie-breaker game for playoff seeding purposes put the Panthers in a best-of-three series with an old nemesis, Pottsboro, in the bi-district round of the postseason.
In both 2014 and 2015 the Cardinals eliminated Van Alstyne from the playoffs, and they did it again this season.
An outstanding pitching performance by Van Alstyne freshman Samuel Tormos went by the boards as Pottsboro broke open a 2-2 game in the top of the seventh to take a 4-2 win in the opening game last Friday night at the new Anna High School baseball field.
Tormos pitched seven innings and gave up just four hits while striking out six. Just two of the Cardinal runs were earned.
Junior Chase Wilson got the Panthers off to a positive start with a first inning single.
Junior Rhett Gallagher doubled and was subbed out for courtesy runner Cam Montgomery.
Sophomore Tyler Wilson doubled to drive in Chase Wilson, and get those scoreboard numbers turning.
Montgomery scored on an RBI single by junior Hunter Hutchison, getting the Panthers off to a 2-0 start.
Van Alstyne got runners into scoring position in both the second and third innings, but could not punch them across, and that would play a big role in the final tally.
Pottsboro tied the game in the fourth, scoring a pair of runs on a walk, the lone Panther error of the contest, and a passed ball to get back in the game.
Senior Luke Hundt reached on a Pottsboro error in the Van Alstyne fifth inning, moved to second on a passed ball, but was stranded with the third out.
Chase Wilson walked and swiped second in the sixth, but could not advance further.
Pottsboro took a two-run lead in the top of the seventh as Justin Taylor singled to open the inning.
With one out, Myles Mitchusson reached on a fielder’s choice and a double by junior Hunter Watson plated two Cardinal runners.
The Panthers could not answer in their half of the seventh, losing the opener, 4-2.
Pottsboro 7, Van Alstyne 3.
Two factors can sum up the outcome of this one — walks and the big inning.
The Panthers had too many of the former and gave up a couple of the latter in a 7-3, season-ending loss to the Cardinals.
Pottsboro parlayed two walks, two hit batters and a sacrifice fly into a four-run second inning to take a lead it never gave back in the nightcap of the doubleheader at Anna.
The Panthers battled back gamely, as they have all year, scoring two runs in the third to cut that lead in half.
Junior Tyler Neshyba walked to open the inning and was replaced by courtesy runner Zach Wright.
Just as the Cards had shown in their big inning, leadoff walks almost always turn into runs and that was the case here.
Wright moved to second when Chase Wilson was hit by a pitch, and a Rhett Gallagher singled loaded the bases.
Wright scored on a sacrifice fly by senior Luke Hundt, and after a single by sophomore Tyler Wilson, Chase Wilson scored on a single by junior Hunter Hutchison, making it a 4-2 game.
“In a lot of our games, we’ve had to use our speed to get runs across and this team probably has the most overall speed of any team I’ve had here,” Van Alstyne head coach Jimmy Haynes said.
That speed resulted in a run in the Panther fifth as Gallagher walked, stole second and eventually scored on a Pottsboro error.
The Cardinals put out the fire in the sixth, scoring three more runs with a two-out rally.
Pottsboro went on to sweep the series with the 7-3 win.
“It’s really been an up and down season for us, and I guess that’s just a product of how young we are as a team,” Haynes said. “We have a lot of positives to build on, out top two pitchers are a sophomore and a freshman, we have our entire infield back next year, and we will get more consistent.”
The Panthers finish the season with a 14-10-3 record.